One of the biggest mysteries of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is how symptoms can appear differently in people. While some people are infected and have no symptoms, others require hospitalization. Sadly, for others, the disease can be fatal. By predicting which people are most susceptible to severe illness, researchers can advise the right groups to take extra precautions and be vigilant.
A May 2020 study published in the British Medical Journal shed some light on which infected patients were more likely to develop severe illness from the coronavirus. Data was gathered from 208 acute care hospitals in England, Wales, and Scotland from about 20,000 coronavirus patients. Researchers and health care professionals have since corroborated their own findings with this study.
Knowing who is most susceptible to severe coronavirus symptoms, and why, can help physicians determine the right treatments for their patients. It can also assist people in making personal risk assessments for their daily lives. Here are eight risk factors for severe illness from COVID-19.
18. Older Age Group
The body weakens with age, and the coronavirus takes advantage of this weakness. According to the Mayo Clinic, 80% of deaths from the coronavirus are in people 65 and up. For older adults with other risk factors or underlying health conditions, the risk of death from the disease is even more significant. For nursing home residents, the risk is even higher.
Adults in a nursing home commonly have underlying medical conditions and are also older. Also, the close quarters and shared staff in a nursing home make it difficult to prevent infections.
17. A Weak Immune System
With a healthy immune system, the body is more likely to succeed at fighting off infections. However, for those with weakened immune systems, fighting off infections, especially something as transmissible as COVID-19, can be tough. A weakened immune system may occur in many conditions:
- Bone marrow transplants
- Long-term prednisone use
- Cancer treatments
- Organ transplants
- Cancer treatments