COVID-19 kills 13% of people over age 80, study finds

A new study shows that the disease caused by the new coronavirus kills about 13.4 percent of patients 80 years and older compared to 0.3 percent of patients in their 40s, according to STAT.

The new study, published in the journal The Lancet Infectious Diseases, examines data for 70,117 COVID-19 cases in mainland China and 689 cases among people evacuated from Wuhan on repatriation flights.

Researchers found that the fatality rate among all of those infected with the new virus, including asymptomatic patients, is 0.66 percent. The death rate rose with age, with a death rate of:

● 0.3 percent for patients in their 40s
● 1.25 percent for those in their 50s
● 4 percent for those in their 60s
● 8.6 percent for those in their 70s
● 13.4 percent for patients 80 years and up.

The risk of hospitalization also increased with age, from 1.1 percent of patients in their 20s and 3.4 percent of those in their 30s, to 12 percent of those in their 60s and 18.4 percent of those 80 years and older, STAT reports.

The reason for this may lie in understanding our immune system and how it ages.

"Older people are not as good at reacting to microorganisms they haven’t encountered before," Janko Nikolich-Zugich, MD, PhD, an immunologist and gerontologist at the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Tucson, told STAT.

"[Older people] just have fewer soldiers dealing with attackers we've never experienced before, like the new coronavirus," he said, according to the report.

More articles on patient safety and outcomes:
47 practices for safer care from AHRQ
How Northwell improved resuscitation outcomes in the ED
Top 10 patient safety concerns of 2020 from ECRI Institute

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