COVID-19 is a new viral pandemic disease and there is limited information regarding risk factors for mild-to-severe co-morbidity. Based on currently available information and clinical expertise as per the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD), Division of Viral Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), those at high-risk for severe illness from COVID-19 are:
1- People 65 years and older, and
2- People who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility

Moreover, people of all ages with the following underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled, are at risk for severe illness from COVID-19, and this include:

  • People with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma (uncontrolled)

  • People who have serious heart conditions

  • People who are immunocompromised (due to pathology or those on immunosuppressant therapy)

  • People with severe obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 40 or higher)

  • People with diabetes (uncontrolled)

  • People with chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis

  • People with liver disease

Worldometer has reviewed the deaths in New York City (New York City Health):

Data for the first 6839 deaths was analyzed on 14 April 2020.

Most deaths occurred in the age group 75+ years (47.7%) and more than 70% of deaths overall had an underlying medical condition. Underlying illnesses include Diabetes, Lung Disease, Cancer, Immunodeficiency, Heart Disease, Hypertension, Asthma, Kidney Disease, and GI/Liver Disease.

The majority of deaths (61.8%) occured in males.

In summary

0-17 years old: 3 deaths (0.04%) - 100% had confirmed underlying medical conditions
18-44 years old: 309 deaths (4.5%) - 79% had confirmed underlying medical conditions
45-64 years: 1 581 deaths (23.1%) - 85% had confirmed underlying medical conditions
65-74 years: 1 683 deaths (24.6%) - 76% had confirmed underlying medical conditions
75+ years: 3263 deaths (47.7%)  - 70% had confirmed underlying medical conditions

For more information, kindly refer to the following resources:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD)


Age and Sex of Confirmed Cases in South Africa 20 April 2020

When looking at all the confirmed cases in South Africa, we see that the majority of cases are in the 31-40 year age group, with more cases in young females than males.

Source: NICD COVID-19 Update 36 

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