This week, coronavirus cases in the UK surpassed 370, leading to widespread panic about the spread of the disease.
Now, a new study has revealed who is at the highest risk of dying from the coronavirus.
The study, published in The Lancet, analysed 191 patients with the disease in two hospitals in Wuhan - the area where the virus originated.
The results revealed that being of older age, showing signs of sepsis, and having blood clotting issues are the key risk factors linked with higher risk of death from the virus.
Dr Zhibo Liu, co-author of the study, said: ”Older age, showing signs of sepsis on admission, underlying diseases like high blood pressure and diabetes, and the prolonged use of non-invasive ventilation were important factors in the deaths of these patients.
“Poorer outcomes in older people may be due, in part, to the age-related weakening of the immune system and increased inflammation that could promote viral replication and more prolonged responses to inflammation, causing lasting damage to the heart, brain, and other organs."
Meanwhile, the study also suggests that recovered patients may remain infectious for longer than previously thought.
The researchers found that viral shedding was 20 days in survivors, indicating that two weeks of isolation may not be long enough.
Professor Bin Cao, co-lead author of the study, said: “The extended viral shedding noted in our study has important implications for guiding decisions around isolation precautions and antiviral treatment in patients with confirmed COVID-19 infection.
“However, we need to be clear that viral shedding time should not be confused with other self-isolation guidance for people who may have been exposed to COVID-19 but do not have symptoms, as this guidance is based on the incubation time of the virus.
“We recommend that negative tests for COVID-19 should be required before patients are discharged from hospital.”
Delving deeper into the results, the researchers found that the average duration of fever in those with the disease was about 12 days, while shortness of breath lasted about 13 days.