The number of cases of the novel coronavirus continue to rise with already 79,930 cases and 2,465 deaths globally including 20 deaths outside mainland China. With these rising numbers, people continue to ask what risk factors are associated with the spreading of COVID-19.
According to The Guardian, an expert on communicable diseases control from the University of Exeter Medical School, Dr. Bharat Paankhania, said that it is not surprising that the virus has affected people belonging in different demographics.
He further added that everyone is at risk of the disease which is why there is superlative efforts to contain it and prevent it from circulating.
Meanwhile, Dr. David Heymann a professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, specializing in infectious disease epidemiology, said that since the disease is new in humans, nobody has immunity yet, even health workers who work in the front line to combat the disease are at risk.
While everyone is at risk of contacting the disease if exposed, the mortality and degree of symptoms vary based on demographic factors.
According to Forbes' Nina Shapiro, the following are to be considered as risk factors of the dreaded disease.
1. The disease is more fatal to older people.
Based on the cases and statistics, there have been 208 deaths out of the 1,408 cases of corona virus in people over 80 years old. This gives it a fatality rate of almost 15%, which is almost 5 times the fatality rate for the virus which is around 2.8%. While in children aging 0-9 years have no recorded deaths in the 416 cases and there is only one fatality recorded of the cases of children and teens aging 10-19.
2. Those who have existing chronic illnesses do worse.
Since the outbreak started, there have been about 5,000 cases of corona virus in individuals that already have co-morbid medical conditions like, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular diseases, lung disease or cancer. The mortality rate is also higher in this group with about 5-10% mortality compared to the less than 1% mortality rate of those who have no reported medical condition before contacting the disease.
3. The disease is more fatal to men than women.
According to a piece posted by CNBC, women fare better than men in terms of surviving the disease. While there are almost the same number of confirmed cases across the sexes, the death rate is substantially higher in males at 2.8% and only 1.7% in females.
Over the weekend, the cases in Italy has risen to 132 which is the highest number of cases outside Asia. This means that the virus is slowly becoming a pandemic spreading across countries and continents. Hence, it is advised that people need to take steps in protecting themselves from contacting the virus since it has also been recorded that with heightened awareness, the cases of fatality is lesser for those who contacted it in February than in January when the outbreak peaked.
With the outbreak spreading rampantly across countries, with now 28 countries having confirmed cases, there is a need to be more aware of the risks associated with it or with contacting it.