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22 Percent Worldwide at Increased Risk for Severe COVID-19

Those at increased risk ranged from <5 percent of those <20 years to >66 percent for those ≥70 years

FRIDAY, June 19, 2020 (HealthDay News) — About 22 percent of the global population has at least one underlying condition that places them at increased risk for severe COVID-19, according to a modeling study published online June 15 in The Lancet Global Health.

Andrew Clark, Ph.D., from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and colleagues estimated the number of individuals at increased risk for severe COVID-19 by age, sex, and country for 188 countries.

The researchers found that an estimated 1.7 billion people, representing 22 percent of the global population, have at least one underlying condition that puts them at increased risk for severe COVID-19 if infected; this percentage ranged from <5 to >66 percent for those younger than 20 years and aged 70 years or older, respectively. An estimated 4 percent of the global population (349 million people) are at high risk for severe COVID-19 and would require hospital admission if infected; this percentage ranged from <1 to about 20 percent of those younger than 20 years and aged 70 years or older, respectively. Six percent of males and 3 percent of females were estimated to be at high risk. Countries with older populations, African countries with high HIV/AIDS prevalence, and small island nations with high diabetes prevalence had the highest share of the population at increased risk.

“It is time to acknowledge that we are not all at equal risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19 and to work together with those most affected to tailor an effective response,” write the authors of an accompanying editorial.

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