Are only the elderly and people with comorbidity affected by the coronavirus to such an extent that they develop COVID-19? In defense of that corona is an unpredictable killer virus that can also strike sent from an undamaged existence, it is said that by stating that only the elderly and chronically ill die of COVID-19, the problem of the virus is downplayed. I am also accused of stating that it is almost impossible for young healthy people to die of COVID-19 in an intensive care unit.
In the analysis below, I assume, for the argumentation, that a young person is under the age of forty and died of the consequences of COVID-19.
Mortality from COVID-19 is highest among the elderly (over 70 years old) worldwide. That is not a point of discussion and can be explained because they are much more sensitive to getting a fatal infection. That is the natural result of the aging of the immune system. Therefore, most diseases associated with chronic inflammation come into the figurative fall and winter of life. An acute infection then quickly becomes fatal. We see that in nursing and care homes. In such an attack, there are very few soldiers (defenses) left with these elderly people who can defend the fort (the old body). This soon became clear in Italy. Below is a table of age distribution of 2870 COVID-19 patients in Italy. The vast majority are over seventy years old. Nine patients (0.31%) died between the ages of 30 and 39. Among the deceased patients, none were younger than thirty.
In Italy, only 1.2% of 481 patients examined had no comorbidity, 23.5% had an underlying disease, 26.6% two and 48.6% three or more. In the Netherlands, until 17 May 2020, 5,680 patients died of proven COVID-19, 5,037 (89%) deceased patients were older than seventy years and 14 (0.24%) patients were younger than forty years.
Of the COVID-19 patients who died in the Netherlands who were younger than seventy years, 70% had an underlying disease (s), 10% had no underlying disease (s) and of 20% this was unknown when they were admitted to hospital. 43.5% had cardiovascular diseases, 26% diabetes, 25% chronic lung diseases, 15% cancer and 15% chronic neurological diseases.
Of the first hundred COVID-19 patients in the Elisabeth Twee steden hospital in Tilburg, about 80% had underlying diseases, most of whom had hypertension and diabetes.
In other acute infectious diseases such as influenza, we also see that most patients have comorbidity before admission. With the H3N2 this was over 80%. This is logical and explainable. Many of the underlying diseases are systemic inflammatory diseases, which increases the susceptibility to infections many times over. It has long been known that having diabetes makes patients much more susceptible to infectious diseases.
It is important to remember that not all diseases are counted under comorbidity, it is mainly the obvious underlying chronic diseases such as diabetes mellitus, hypertension, heart disease, COPD and cancer. Diseases such as chronic rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and other less common chronic inflammatory diseases, as well as reduced resistance due to chronic drug use were not included in the calculations, but, given their influence on immunity, they may have been important in getting (fatal) COVID -19.
Yes, it is true, and also very sad, that some young people in the Netherlands also died of COVID-19. Healthy young people too. Of the 5,680 deceased patients in the Netherlands (as of May 17, 2020), fourteen deaths were under the age of forty. That is 0.24% of all patients who died of COVID-19 in the Netherlands.
Unfortunately, young people also die prematurely. Accidents or cancer. In 2018, 153,363 people died in the Netherlands, of which 1,464 aged between 25 and 40. That is 0.9% of the total mortality. And kill the 14 young COVID-19? That is 0.9% of deaths in this age category.
And, let’s put it for the argument, let’s say that it remains with these 14 young deceased and no more young COVID-19 deceased. About 150,000 people die in the Netherlands every year. Then these 14 deceased make up 0.009% of all deceased. In the individual case, it’s extremely tragic and terrible for the next of kin, but, please forgive me the chilly use of the numbers, statistically negligibly small over the big picture. It is still unclear how some young healthy people can get so sick and die of COVID-19 while almost all peers do not get sick. They may have an unknown genetic defect that makes them so susceptible to a fatal infection.
So, it is true that some young healthy people die from COVID-19, but fortunately there are very few.