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WHO: Older patients more vulnerable

Health & Science

A tenth of the elderly aged over 70 infected with the coronavirus have died in findings that indicate survival rates diminish with age.

Children are least susceptible to the disease that has since been classified by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a pandemic.

Even when they catch the infection, the symptoms are mild, comparable to those exhibited with the common cold.

Epicentre of outbreak

“Individuals at highest risk for severe disease and death include people aged over 60 years and those with underlying conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease and cancer,” WHO has reported.

Findings of the study in China, the epicentre of the outbreak, have revealed that nearly 22 per cent of all infected people aged 80 and above succumbed to the disease. Only 2.4 per cent of the reported cases were children, and even then none has died much less that they did not show severe symptoms.

Medical experts have been puzzled by the results as ordinarily young children tend to be more vulnerable because their immune systems are not fully developed.

Patterns of the fatalities by age however mirrors that of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), another strain of the coronavirus, which ravaged China in 2002.

That would explain the rapid spread Covid-19 and the resultant soaring fatalities in Italy, a country with an aging population. Confirmed cases hit 15,000 yesterday against over 1,000 deaths, a staggering mortality rate that is triple the global average.

Vast majority

With a vast majority of Kenya’s population under the age of 30, the exposure for the country is significantly reduced should mortality patterns be replicated.

Kenya yesterday reported the first case of the infection, magnifying the threat of the pandemic which has spread quickly across the world.

Yesterday, Sudan and Ethiopia announced its first cases, adding to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Egypt as among affected African countries.

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