1.7 billion people at higher risk from COVID-19, study says

1.7 billion people at higher risk from COVID-19, study says

Coronavirus able to survive near boiling point of water, study shows These individuals are not equally distributed, varying from about 16% of the African population to approximately 31% of the European population. The most common underlying diseases in individuals over 50 years include chronic kidney disease, cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, and chronic lung disease. In Africa, the at-risk population also included nations with a high HIV prevalence and Islanders with a high diabetes rate. The percentage of people with more than one comorbidity in Europe was threefold that in Africa, with one in 10 Europeans having multiple illnesses, but only 3% of Africans. Overall, 0.4 billion individuals have two or more existing health conditions that increase the risk of severe COVID-19. The study concludes that if the current advisories and prevalence data of diseases from GBD are any guide, about 20% of people on earth have at least one risk factor for severe COVID-19 illness. Many of them are not likely to have this condition identified or to have it in a mild enough form that it escapes clinical notice. These include stage 1 cardiovascular disease, early-onset diabetes, and chronic liver disease with compensation. Sometimes, the condition is so mild as not to pose a serious risk. On the other hand, the fact that a very high percentage of poor outcomes from COVID-19 occurs in people with underlying health issues, protecting these groups could be the way out to reduce the death rate and cut the demand for hospital beds. In many low-income countries, the low coverage by healthcare for many chronic conditions may mean that age will become the Since no vaccine is yet available, these groups should be given priority in terms of timely and effective education about their increased risk, and support in adhering to guidelines such as frequent handwashing, home delivery of food and medical care, and physical separation from those who may spread the virus to them. The problem with such shielding approaches is that they don’t work when the person at risk and who needs to be shielded is the one who needs to go out for work or to care for the others. Alternatives in such cases need to be explored, such as face masks, or incentives to not go for work. With respect to healthcare providers and social welfare personnel, personal protective equipment (PPE) and intensive testing is a must for those on the front line. The researchers say, “There is an urgent need for robust analyses of the risks associated with different underlying conditions so that countries can identify the highest risk groups and develop targeted shielding policies to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.” Journal reference: Clark, A., Jit, M., Warren-Gash, C. et al. (2020). How Many Are At Increased Risk Of Severe COVID-19 Disease? Rapid Global, Regional And National Estimates For 2020. medRxiv. doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.04.18.20064774 https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.04.18.20064774v1



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