The CDC listed the following as the top underlying medical conditions linked to coronavirus deaths:
- Influenza and pneumonia
- Respiratory failure
- Hypertensive disease
- Vascular and unspecified dementia
- Cardiac arrest
- Heart failure
- Renal failure
- Intentional and unintentional injury, poisoning and other adverse events
I find these data reassuring. Covid-19 is behaving like other serious viral infections. It doesn’t make it less dangerous than before, but it reinforces observations that the vast majority of serious Coronavirus disease is predominantly (94%) related to pre-existing underlying diseases that typically increase risk for any viral illnesses, not just Covid. This means that 6% of people who have died from the Coronavirus did not have any other (known) health conditions, which is still too high, but may not be significantly worse than other serious viral illnesses.
Two things to consider in the very complex pandemic:
Many older adults have been exposed, over their lifetimes, to most of the viral pathogens that are capable of causing serious and life threatening disease. Prior exposures provide some immunity and may explain why most other viruses are less fatal, compared to Covid-19. Covid-19 happens to be caused by a virus that was just born, thus nobody’s immune system has seen this virus, no matter how young or old. Medical experts are not yet sure if prior infection with other (non-Covid-19) variations of the Coronavirus could provide some protection from the most severe forms of Covid-19.
Another extremely important factor to consider has to do with the amount of virus a person is exposed to. This is referred to as “inoculum” or viral load, which is how much of the virus is needed to make a person sick. The jury is still out about the minimum dose of virus required to cause infection, but the data indicates that the larger the dose of virus a person comes into contact the greater is their chances of becoming severely ill from Covid-19. Click here to read more about this in our Sept 22nd post.
Justin Groode, MD | PATIENT ADVOCATE ALLIANCE, LLC
For a more in depth coverage of fact-checked information about the Covid Pandemic check out the PAA Covid-Page.
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