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Iran Press TV

New study shows 1 in 5 people worldwide at risk of severe COVID-19 disease

Iran Press TV

Tuesday, 16 June 2020 5:41 PM

About 22 percent of the world population with underlying health conditions are at risk of severe COVID-19 symptoms if they are infected by the novel coronavirus, a new study finds.

According to the new study, whose results were published in The Lancet Global Health journal on Monday, an estimated 1.7 billion people - comprising 22 percent of the global population - "have at least one underlying condition that puts them at increased risk of severe COVID-19 if infected."

The new research, which is based on a modeling study that uses data from 188 countries, did not take into account healthy older individuals without underlying health conditions, a group also known to be at risk because of their age.

It also excluded risk factors like poverty and obesity, which can influence an individual's vulnerability to the contagious disease and access to due treatment.

The study defined 11 categories of underlying conditions that might increase the risk of severe COVID-19, mining data from the World Health Organization (WHO) and health agencies in the United States and Britain.

"Estimates of the number of individuals at increased risk were most sensitive to the prevalence of chronic kidney disease, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and chronic respiratory disease," it added.

Authors of the study said that their research had been focused on underlying health conditions for considering the number of individuals that might need to be shielded or vaccinated as the pandemic rages across the world.

The research further estimated that around four percent of the global population – some 349 million people – would require hospitalization if they contract the novel coronavirus. It added that the figure included patients without underlying medical conditions, such as healthy, older adults, warning that the risk of hospitalization would soar with age.

"As countries move out of lockdown, governments are looking for ways to protect the most vulnerable from a virus that is still circulating. We hope our estimates will provide useful starting points for designing measures to protect those at increased risk of severe disease," said Associate Professor Andrew Clark from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), UK, and the lead author of the study.

The COVID-19 disease was transmitted from wildlife to people and first emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan late last year. It has affected 213 countries and territories across the globe and has so far infected more than 8,186,240 people and killed over 441,200.

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