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Coronavirus Hits Senior Citizens The Hardest

Coronavirus is hitting senior citizens the hardest, according to the National Institute of Aging.


Coronavirus, a respiratory illness, is also known as 2019-nCoV. It continues to rise worldwide. At last count, over 40,000 people have contracted this disease — and there are over 2000 deaths, just in China alone.


The preliminary indications are that senior citizens with underlying conditions, are specifically susceptible to respiratory illness. It can lead to pneumonia with symptoms like fever, cough, and shortness of breath.


Preliminary estimates suggest that the virus, has a fatality rate of about 2 percent. Early findings from China, which pertained to the first 17 people to die in the outbreak, revealed that their median age was 75, and a recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that the median age of the first 425 people infected with the virus was 59.


Coronavirus: Underlying Conditions Are Key

The two main reasons for seniors’ increased susceptibility to this virus, is:

  1. An already existing chronic condition such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, (COPD).


  • 2. The second factor is how our immune response changes with age. For example, older people experience more inflammation, early on in the course of an illness. This can lead to lung damage and/or other organ damage.

Aging  —  can lead to a loss of airway function and make the lungs less elastic and resilient. Thus, any kind of health issue can reduce airway function and respiratory function.


Coronavirus: What’s Happening Now?

Scientists are working to develop targeted treatments for 2019-nCoV. In the meantime, U.S. health officials recommend that people halt all nonessential travel to China and practice preventive hygiene measures, including constant-thorough handwashing with soap and water.


The emergence of 2019-nCoV has now overlapped with that of the flu. The flu remains at elevated levels across much of the United States. It has affected an estimated 19 million people so far this season, resulting in  180,000 hospitalizations. The majority of these hospitalizations is among those people 65 and older. And, the flu has also caused 10,000 deaths, so far this season.

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