A new study of 17 million people in England has revealed the factors that can increase a person’s chance of dying from COVID-19.
Key facts from the study
Here are some of the key facts from the study:
- People over age 80 were 20 times more likely to die of COVID-19 than people in their 50s.
- Men with coronavirus were more likely to die of the virus than women of the same age.
- People with preexisting conditions such as obesity, diabetes, asthma, and compromised immune systems were more likely to die.
- People in poverty were more likely to die.
- Minorities (Blacks, South Asians, and others) were more likely to die than Whites.
In the U.S., Latino and Black people are three times as likely to get coronavirus as Caucasians. This could be due to preexisting conditions, working front-line or essential jobs, living in multigenerational households, and/or language barriers that cause difficulties in getting medical care.
While the new findings are not a surprise based on other findings around the world, the importance of a major repeated pattern emerging is what is key. Dr. Avonne Connor, epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins University, called the pattern “astounding” and said that it adds “another layer to depicting who is at risk.”
The study was performed by researchers at Oxford University and published online in Nature.
The gender gap
What’s really striking is that around the world, there are overall more men than women dying from the virus. In the UK, 60 percent of those who died were men. In Italy, men over the age of 50 died at four times the rate of women the same age. Across the globe, it is looking like twice as many men than women will succumb to the virus.
Researchers are not certain why men are dying from COVID-19 more than women. Some believe it could be due to differences in the makeup of the male and female bodies, such as differences in hormones and DNA. Others say it is more likely due to differences in occupations, gendered behaviors, and preexisting health conditions than simply gender.