Subjects vulnerable to COVID-19: What ages are most at risk?

2021-06-02 04:52 PM

The Covid-19 pandemic has been posing great challenges to the whole community. According to statistics, the elderly, people with chronic diseases, etc. have a high risk of infection, more severe disease progression, prolonged treatment with more expensive costs, and a high mortality rate.

Covid-19 is a new disease. SARS-CoV-2 can cause mild to life-threatening respiratory infections in anyone exposed to it. The whole of humanity seems to be heading together towards the pandemic in the hope of finding an effective solution to end the alarming increase in numbers - that is, a vaccine against Covid-19.

In China, the mortality rate is up to 19% in patients aged 70 years and older; 10.5% in people with cardiovascular disease; 7.3% in people with diabetes; 6.3% in people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD); 6.0% in people with hypertension and 5.6% in cancer patients… The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified 3 groups of subjects at high risk, vulnerable to threats  by Covid-19 the most:

Older adults (risk of infection increases with age)

Covid-19 spares no one. Any age, any age, gender, is at risk of infection. However, Covid-19 tends to cause more serious complications in middle-aged and older people. The risk of developing dangerous symptoms increases with age, with people aged 65 and older having the highest risk of severe symptoms. In the US, about 80% of deaths are in people 65 years of age and older. The risk is even higher for older adults with underlying medical conditions.

The elderly will gradually appear the aging of the body, from the skeletal system to the important organs in the functioning apparatus such as the heart, lungs, vascular system. This condition reduces the body's ability to adapt to external influences such as weather and the environment, increasing the risk of infection with infectious diseases, especially respiratory diseases.

According to the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, the elderly is more susceptible to and die from Covid-19 because:

Immune system function declines: With age, the organs in the body have degeneration and decline in function, making the body's immune system weaker. On the other hand, the immune system is the body's "shield" against all external influences. The reduced protective function of the immune system makes it difficult for older people to fight against "invaders" - viruses and bacteria that attack the body.

Excessive inflammatory response: As we age, high levels of inflammation can damage the lungs, kidneys, and affect many other organs in the body.

Ease of complications: Elderly people often have pre-existing medical conditions, so viral infections that cause respiratory infections can cause more serious complications in heart, kidney, or liver disease. In severe cases, the patient must be mechanically ventilated, ECMO (artificial cardiopulmonary) intervention, even leading to death.

Lung function decreases with age: making ventilation less effective, if there is more advanced pneumonia, respiratory failure is likely to develop.

However, Covid-19 has no absolute age limit, young people are not as "invulnerable" as we once thought. Acute pneumonia caused by a new strain of coronavirus is almost a completely new picture for the world epidemiology, so there is no comprehensive study on the impact of Covid-19 on children.

To explain that, scientists have come up with two hypotheses:

First, the low number of Covid-19 infections among children maybe because children are less likely to have been exposed in the first place.

Second, because the child's body has a special responsibility to the virus, called the innate immune system. If you have young children, you should take the time to read more articles about children and Covid-19!

If the coronavirus was transmitted mainly among children, it would be catastrophic. Currently, the low rate of children infected with Covid-19 is a good thing, because children are not self-aware such as washing hands, covering their mouth, or touching others or actions that can spread the virus. Therefore, we should not be subjective and comfortable letting children go out without protective measures. It is necessary to take precautions, everyone must be prevented and take the same precautions.