It is estimated that 1.7 billion people – over 20% of the world‘s population – are at risk of being severely infected with COVID-19 due to underlying health conditions such as obesity and heart disease, a revealed an analysis on Tuesday.
The new coronavirus, which killed more than 420,000 people worldwide during the first wave of the pandemic, is negatively affecting patients with co-morbidities.
A team of experts from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine analyzed global disease datasets, including diabetes, lung disease and HIV, which used them to estimate the number of people at risk increased serious COVID-19 infection.
They found that one in five had at least one underlying health problem that put them at greater risk.
Although not everyone would develop severe symptoms if they were infected, the researchers said that about 4% of the world‘s population – about 350 million – would likely fall ill enough to require hospital treatment.
“As countries break out of the lockout, governments are looking for ways to protect the most vulnerable from a virus that is still circulating,” said Andrew Clark, who contributed to the study.
“This could involve advising people with underlying conditions to adopt social distancing measures suited to their level of risk.”
Clark said the results could help governments decide in the first place who will receive a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it becomes available.
Consistent with other studies of the risk of COVID, the authors found that older adults are at greater risk of developing severe discomfort from the virus.
Less than 5% of people under 20 have an underlying risk factor, compared to two thirds of those over 70.
Countries with younger populations have fewer people with at least one underlying condition, but risks vary globally, according to the analysis.
Small island states such as Fiji and Mauritius, for example, have the highest rates of diabetes – a known COVID-19 risk factor – on Earth.
And countries with the highest prevalence of HIV / AIDS, such as eSwatini and Lesotho, should also be vigilant, said the authors of the research published in The Lancet.
In Europe, more than 30% of people have one or more health problems, he showed.
In a related comment, Nina Schwalbe of Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health School said the study showed “it is time to move from a one-size-fits-all approach to one of the most at risk”.
(This story has not been edited by GalacticGaming staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)