How deadly is COVID-19?

Men appear to be more at risk of both contracting and dying from COVID-19; China CDC stats show that 2.8 percent of males have died from the disease, compared to 1.7 percent of females. It’s not immediately clear why this should be the case, but many sociological and cultural factors could explain why men might be more prone to contracting the disease (e.g. perhaps more men in China travel for work).

That said, the most significant risk factor for dying from COVID-19 is age. According to China CDC, people above the age of 80 have a 14.8 percent chance of dying from the disease; people in their 70s, 8 percent; people in their 60s, 3.6 percent; and people in their 50s, 1.3 percent. Once below this age range, the risk of dying drops to between 0.2 and 0.4 percent. Again, these figures could be inflated due to the fact that a plethora of mild cases likely aren’t reported.

In addition to age, pre-existing medical conditions are also a major contributor to death from the disease. COVID-19 patients who also had cardiovascular disease had a 10.5 percent chance of death; diabetes, 7.3 percent; chronic respiratory disease, 6.3 percent; hypertension, 6 percent; and any form of cancer, 5.6 percent, according to China CDC stats. Clearly, advanced age plus any of these conditions are a dangerous combination.