We figure out who risks their health the most during the coronavirus epidemic
– What are the risk groups for the COVID-19 virus?
– why you should give up bad habits during the epidemic
– who is most likely to suffer from coronavirus
Coronavirus does not spare anyone. Even the royal family of Great Britain. Does this mean that mere mortals should be even more afraid of a new disease?
At the quarantine in Ukraine, which is pretty annoying to everyone, is being delayed. At least until April 24th. This decision was made in the Cabinet, along with the introduction of an emergency regime throughout the country.
Of course, there are prerequisites for this: the global number of infected COVID-19 is close to half a million, and almost 20 thousand deaths.
Moreover, Europe turned out to be the main breeding ground for a new viral infection: if in China from the beginning of January 2020 a little more than three thousand deaths from a coronavirus were confirmed, almost 7 thousand deaths were recorded in Italy, almost 3.5 thousand in Spain, France – 1.1 thousand, and hundreds more deaths in Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and the UK.
COVID-19 infected even one of the most protected people on the planet – the heir to the British throne, Prince Charles.
Given that the Prince of Wales is 71 years old, most nonchalant users will again think that the coronavirus does not concern them. However, do not rush to conclusions, because scientists have already begun to identify risk groups that are least resistant to this disease.
Coronavirus should be feared not only by people of mature age and those who have serious health problems: men are less resistant to the virus, and bad news is also waiting for those who still have not abandoned their bad habits.
To whom the coronavirus threatens the most and what scientists think about it – let’s figure it out together.
Are you a man or a woman?
According to open data on infected and dead from coronavirus worldwide until March 20, 2020, men have a higher mortality and infection rate.
For example, in Italy, 24 fatal outcomes among men account for 10 fatal cases of COVID-19 among women.
In China, this ratio is 10/18 also in favor of men, in Germany – 10/16, in Iran and France – 10/14, in South Korea – 10/12.
The situation with coronavirus infections is slightly different: in Italy, 14 men fall in 10 women with COVID-19, in Iran and Germany – 13, and in China the number of infected (more than 81.5 thousand) men and women are approximately equal.
Exceptions recorded in South Korea (6 infected men per 10 women out of the total number of patients in 9.1 thousand) and France (9 men per 10 women with coronavirus from the total number of infected in 22.3 thousand).
“The data show that in every country, the mortality rate for men with a diagnosis of COVID-19 is 10% to 90% higher than women,” says Sarah Hawks, professor of global public health at University College London.
Scientists attribute this to the fact that men also have globally worse indicators of health status, bad habits and mortality from various diseases, if we compare similar data about women.
For example, men are much more often diagnosed with coronary heart disease, heart attack, and respiratory diseases.
More indicative is the statistics on tobacco and alcohol use: according to data from the last few years, there are about five times more men who smoke in the world than women who smoke, and globally men drink about five times more alcohol than women.
In China, about 50% of men and only 3% of women across the country smoke.
The smoking population among men and women is important in assessing the risks of infection and mortality from coronavirus, since this disease affects the human respiratory tract and can be more dangerous for smokers.
Chinese forensic doctors previously published a report according to which coronavirus causes inflammatory symptoms in the airways and sacs of the lungs.
“The results of the autopsy of deceased patients showed that a characteristic inflammatory reaction is damage to the deep parts of the airways and pulmonary alveoli, resulting in pneumonia caused by a new type of coronavirus,” the scientists explained.
Do you smoke?
According to data from the Italian National Institute of Health, a third of smokers with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 have a much more complicated disease than coronavirus infected non-smokers.
“So far, there is not much data on smokers about coronavirus, but reports from China show that people with this addiction are much more in groups with severe or critical cases of COVID-19,” says US professor of medicine J. Taylor Hayes.
According to him, this situation applies not only to coronavirus, but also to seasonal flu, respiratory viruses and other respiratory diseases, which are much more difficult for smokers.
Hayes also associates higher mortality and COVID-19 infection among smokers with the ACE2 receptor, with which coronavirus penetrates lung cells.
“The ACE2 receptor is activated in the respiratory cells of smokers and it can be a mechanism that leads to serious illness,” the scientist explains.
As for vaping and the risks of coronavirus infection, doctors cannot say for sure yet, because they still do not have enough data for any conclusions.
However, a recent study by scientists from the University of California at San Francisco confirms that vaping can lead to serious lung damage and other health problems, including death.
“It’s always better not to breathe chemicals into the lungs. I would talk about it even without a specific flash [коронавируса — ред.]. It would be a potential incentive to get people who use vaping to stop, just in preventive measures, ”says Michael Siegel, professor of medical sciences at Boston University.
The same applies to speculation about the number of deaths and cases of coronavirus infection among people of different ages.
Some scientists suggest that vaping can complicate the course of the disease and lead to death from respiratory viruses, including COVID-19.
Other researchers prefer not to make hasty conclusions until there is a sufficient amount of data on infected and dead from the coronavirus, among which there are those who smoke vape.
“There is vaping. Young people can get sick. Perhaps because of vaping, but we cannot talk about such a connection. From an epidemiological point of view, we need to analyze the history of those who became ill and see how many of these people smoked vaping. But as far as I know, there is no such data so far, so everything else is pure speculation, ”explains Arnold Monto, professor of epidemiology at the University of Michigan
Unlike various bad habits, there is confirmed evidence of an increased risk of coronavirus for people with congenital respiratory diseases, as well as acquired fatal diseases.
Are you an asthmatic?
The other day at the American Center for Disease Control and Prevention (СDC) stated that coronavirus infection can be much more dangerous for people with asthma than for those with a healthy respiratory system.
Doctors from the United States believe that asthmatics are more likely to be difficult to tolerate the COVID-19 virus, which can cause asthma attacks and in some cases lead to pneumonia.
Pulmonologist from the American Lung Association Dr. Bobby Mahajan says coronavirus primarily affects the lungs, and this is extremely dangerous for all people with an unhealthy respiratory system, from asthmatics to those who have been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases.
“It’s much harder for such people to adapt their bodies. The presence of emphysema is already breathing problems, and adding another strain of the virus to the respiratory system may lead to hospitalization or even the need for treatment in the intensive care unit, ”says Mahajan.
Some doctors also believe that the spring period of the epidemic can complicate the course of COVID-19 disease in the body with unhealthy lungs. For asthmatics, this is the most difficult period of the year, as many allergenic plants begin to bloom in spring.
Scientists recommend that asthmatics take medications advised by their healthcare providers, regardless of how they feel and if they have symptoms of a respiratory infection.
Do you have oncology?
An even more difficult situation with the risks of coronavirus for people who have been diagnosed with cancer.
Australian oncologist Ranjan Shrivastava explains that during the coronavirus epidemic, doctors had a serious moral and ethical question: is it worth continuing chemotherapy procedures with their patients.
According to Srivastava, in many cases, chemotherapy is a palliative treatment that can relieve pain, prolong life, but will not save from death.
“The already high risks of chemotherapy increase during a pandemic. Immunocompromised patients are more prone to infections, and many chemotherapeutic agents cause mucositis, thereby breaking the natural protective barrier, ”says the oncologist.
According to her, frequent clinical procedures, including chemotherapy, expose the weakened body of patients to danger from various pathogens.
“Mild illnesses for other patients can be catastrophic for cancer patients. Having become entangled in instructions or not wanting to visit the hospital, patients can minimize their symptoms … The need to stand in the queue of the clinic with a fever or call the helpline can exclude the possibility of emergency care, ”says Ranjana Srivastava.
Restrictions on transport and passenger traffic due to coronavirus in different countries may pose another threat to people with oncology.
In the United States, some patients report being forced to delay scheduled surgery in other states due to the COVID-19 epidemic and the health risks that await them during their long journeys.
The situation is similar with oncology clinics, where specialists are forced to limit communication with patients in order to protect their weakened body from the risk of infection.
“It makes sense to limit people from visiting hospitals, but at the same time it can harm their treatment. This is especially dangerous for people who have recently diagnosed tumors and are awaiting treatment, ”explains Kidney Cancer Research Team Leader.
According to the World Health Organization, people with oncology who have become infected with coronavirus are five times more likely to die than people without malignant tumors.
Recall that from March 17, the Ukrainian authorities completely closed passenger flights and imposed significant restrictions on movement within the country.
How old are you?
Yes, the COVID-19 virus is particularly dangerous for older people, because their immunity does not cope with pathogens so effectively.
True, those who do not worry about the elderly and do not plan to take any precautionary measures during quarantine also receive bad news: there are cases of infection and death from coronavirus, and there are more of them.
According to a recent report by the same CDC, in the United States between February 12 and March 16, about 38% of hospitalized patients due to coronavirus were under the age of 55 years.
The data on the special threat of COVID-19 for older people are relevant primarily in China: there 80% of fatal cases from this disease fell on people over 65.
In other countries and regions, the situation may differ dramatically.
One of the most dangerous for “youth ”cities of the planet during the epidemic became New York, where more than a quarter of the hospitalized were under the age of 50 years.
At the same time, doctors in New York hospitals confirmed 302 cases of infection of people aged 18 to 49 years and only 8 cases of coronavirus patients under 18 years of age.
“Literally no one is safe from this. This is a new virus that we have never seen before, and everyone risks getting infected, ”says Dr. Oksiris Barbot, authorized representative of the city health department.
The City publication writes about local nurses who, on an anonymous basis, said that not only older patients, but also 20–30-year-olds infected with coronavirus needed lung ventilation apparatus.
“If we don’t get more fans in the next 10 days, people who should not die will die … The worst is yet to come. I hate to say it, but it’s true, ”said New York Mayor Bill de Blasio the other day.