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How Deadly Is COVID-19? - Health - Nairaland

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How Deadly Is COVID-19? by giftedben: 10:30pm On Mar 03, 2020
The ongoing COVID-19 outbreak is still in its early stages, having emerged in China at some point in late 2019 and spread to dozens of countries in early 2020. There’s plenty we don’t know about this virus, called SARS-CoV-2, but a clearer picture is starting to emerge in regards to how it spreads and who’s most at risk of both contracting and dying from this disease.

Before we get into the latest research, however, it’s important to understand how a SARS-CoV-2 infection actually leads to death.

This new coronavirus is similar to SARS, which stands for “severe acute respiratory syndrome,” which is why the virus itself is informally referred to as SARS-2. The disease, which is associated with fever and cough, has also been referred to as NCIP, which stands for “novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV)-infected pneumonia.” As both of these titles suggest, the disease affects the lungs and our ability to breathe. In severe cases, the arising pneumonia can trigger a dangerous condition known as acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), which causes the lungs to fill with fluid and become rigid. This makes breathing difficult, if not impossible, requiring some patients to be hooked up to mechanical ventilators. Consequently, death from COVID-19 is typically due to massive damage to the lungs and progressive respiratory failure, according to recent research published in the Lancet.

Who’s most at risk?.
Men appear to be more at risk of both contracting and dying from COVID-19; China CDC stats show that 2.8 percent of males have died from the disease, compared to 1.7 percent of females. It’s not immediately clear why this should be the case, but many sociological and cultural factors could explain why men might be more prone to contracting the disease (e.g. perhaps more men in China travel for work).

That said, the most significant risk factor for dying from COVID-19 is age. According to China CDC, people above the age of 80 have a 14.8 percent chance of dying from the disease; people in their 70s, 8 percent; people in their 60s, 3.6 percent; and people in their 50s, 1.3 percent. Once below this age range, the risk of dying drops to between 0.2 and 0.4 percent. Again, these figures could be inflated due to the fact that a plethora of mild cases likely aren’t reported.

In addition to age, pre-existing medical conditions are also a major contributor to death from the disease. COVID-19 patients who also had cardiovascular disease had a 10.5 percent chance of death; diabetes, 7.3 percent; chronic respiratory disease, 6.3 percent; hypertension, 6 percent; and any form of cancer, 5.6 percent, according to China CDC stats. Clearly, advanced age plus any of these conditions are a dangerous combination.

The incubation period of the disease is around five days but can be as long as 12 days in some cases, according to the Li study. Importantly, this evidence supports the 14-day quarantine period for exposed individuals.

We “should be prepared” for COVID-19 to “gain a foothold throughout the world, including in United States and Nigeria.” Regrettably, we may have no choice but to shift out of containment mode and adopt mitigation strategies instead. These strategies could involve “social distancing,” which would involve the isolation of sick people (e.g. staying home), closing schools, canceling events like seminars and conferences, and working from home, among other measures.

We probably shouldn’t compare COVID-19 to other outbreaks, such as influenza. This disease and the ensuing outbreak is its own unique beast. It’s clear from the data that we’re now firmly entrenched in uncharted territory.

Re: How Deadly Is COVID-19? by CanadaOrBust: 10:32pm On Mar 03, 2020

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