In a new study, researchers found that most people infected by the new coronavirus in China have mild symptoms, with older patients and those with underlying conditions most at risk from the disease.
The study is the biggest study on novel coronavirus patients since the outbreak. The research was conducted by the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CCDC).
In the study, the team looked at 72,314 confirmed, suspected, clinically diagnosed, and asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 illness across China as of February 11.
They found about 81% of infections are classified as mild, 13.8% as severe and only 4.7% as critical.
The highest fatality rate is for people aged 80 and older, at 14.8%.
In addition, patients with heart disease are most likely to die of complications from the novel coronavirus, followed by patients with diabetes, chronic respiratory disease and high blood pressure.
There were no deaths among children aged up to 9, despite at least two cases of newborn babies infected through their mothers.
The team also found that up to age 39, the death rate remains low at 0.2%.
The fatality rate increases gradually with age. For people in their 40s, it is 0.4%, in their 50s it is 1.3%, in their 60s it is 3.6% and their 70s it is 8.0%.
And men are more likely to die (2.8 percent) than women (1.7 percent).
The team reported that the percentage of severe cases among Wuhan medical staff has gradually decreased from 38.9% at the peak (on January 28) to 12.7%in early February.
There has been a “downward trend” in the overall epidemic curve since February 11—meaning the spread of the disease, especially outside Hubei province, was slowing.
The findings suggest that China’s decision to lock down Wuhan—a city of 11 million people—and impose strict transport curbs in other affected areas may have paid off.
The study is published in the Chinese Journal of Epidemiology.
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