Over 50s at higher risk from coronavirus, new study reveals

MIDDLE-AGED Brits could be at greater risk of severe coronavirus than experts first thought, it has emerged.

A new study found while the overall death rate of Covid-19 in China was 1.38 per cent – that rate increased with age, reaching 7.8 per cent in the over 80s.

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In the UK anyone over the age of 70 has been told to self-isolate for 12 weeks, to reduce the risk of catching the bug.

That comes as evidence from China and countries like Italy suggested older people were at much greater risk – along with those with underlying health conditions.

But new analysis, published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, has showed an increase in risk for coronavirus once a person reaches middle age.

It found 3.43 per cent of people in their 30s needed hospital treatment for Covid-19, rising to 4.25 per cent in their 40s and 8.16 per cent in their 50s.

It jumped to 11.8 per cent in their 60s; 16.6 per cent in their 70s; and 18.4 per cent for over 80s.

Professor Azra Ghani, a co-author of the study, said: "Our analysis very clearly shows that at aged 50 and over, hospitalisation is much more likely than in those under 50, and a greater proportion of cases are likely to be fatal."


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The study was based on analysis of 70,117 laboratory-confirmed and clinically-diagnosed cases in mainland China, combined with 689 positive cases among people evacuated from Wuhan on repatriation flights.

The latest study estimates the number of undetected cases and suggests an overall death rate of 0.66 per cent – that's higher than swine flu, which had a death rate of 0.02 per cent.

Using data on 24 deaths that occurred in mainland China and 165 recoveries outside of China, the study indicated it took an average of 17.8 days from the onset of symptoms to death, and 24 days for survivors to be discharged from hospital.

The study revealed a very low death rate in those under the age of 20, although it found they are not at a lower risk of infection than older adults.

Professor Ghani said: "Our estimates can be applied to any country to inform decisions around the best containment policies for Covid-19."

As of 5pm on Sunday, 1,408 people are confirmed to have died in UK hospitals after testing positive for Covid-19.

Professor Neil Ferguson, of Imperial College London, said Britain's outbreak may be starting to slow with almost two million people infected.

He said as the UK epidemic peaks, similar age groups in the UK are likely to be hospitalised and die as seen in China.

It came as Belgian research suggested the true number of people infected without realising it could be far higher than thought, with a study indicating it could be 85 times greater than official estimates.

The findings echo controversial estimates from a group at Oxford University which has suggested half of Britain could already have been infected.

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