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Covid-19 Mythbuster : Old and sick people

Published Mar 25, 2020


CAPE TOWN - A Nationwide lockdown has been implemented in South Africa from March 26 for 21 days in order to flatten the curve and reduce the spread of the virus. These are carefully considered drastic measures put into place based on evidence from other Covid-19 infected countries. Some who have managed to mitigate the damage, and others who were overwhelmed by it.

The virus poses a huge risk to the lives of every person irrespective of their race, beliefs or location.

What increases this risk are people following incorrect information about cures, prevention tips and who’s susceptible and who’s not. One of these myths; Covid-19 only affects older people, is completely false.

The data from the outbreak in China where Covid-19 originated, suggested the increased risk to older people. This was later confirmed by data coming from Italy who recently exceeded China’s death rate. Italy has the world’s oldest population which is one of the main contributors to the high fatality rate in the country due to Covid-19.

This trend of higher fatality rates for older people compared to younger people is present in Spain and South Korea as well. Where fatality rates, hospitalisations, and Intensive Care Unit (ICU) stays are skewed to older people. So yes, Covid-19 is more likely to be fatal and severe when an older person contracts it. As well as people with pre-existing medical conditions, particularly those with respiratory conditions like asthma.

However, this does not mean that there is no risk for children or younger people. It is advised that everyone should be conscious of their own pre-existing health conditions irrespective of age.

An urgent reminder that the only plausible way to prevent Covid-19 is to practise good hygiene and social distancing.

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