To date, approximately 8 million have been infected by the novel coronavirus worldwide, and among these, more than 3.30 lakh cases happen to be from India. Besides being the gnawing threat that it happens to be, the virus has also proved to be a remarkable equalizer at it claims the privileged and underprivileged, the politician and the public, and the celebrities and the common man alike. However, when it comes to coronavirus fatality rates, the virus seems to act differently on different people.
Now, while we have been reading and hearing about how coronavirus spreads like wildfire and can impact any and everyone who comes in contact with the virus, it does not necessarily impact everyone with the same severity. The World Health Organisation (WHO) and other health bodies have shared how the virus tends to impact those with co-morbidities way more adversely than others. Co-morbidity refers to the presence of one or more than one underlying health conditions that trigger the impact of the virus. And while that might not sound alarming enough, here's something worrisome: 1 in 5 people worldwide suffer from underlying health conditions!
A recent study by The Lancet Global Health journal posits that "About one in five individuals worldwide could be at increased risk of severe COVID-19, should they become infected due to underlying health conditions, but this risk varies considerably by age." The study further elaborates that approximately 1.7 billion people worldwide have underlying health conditions. This makes for a whopping 22 percent of the world population. Thus, at least 21.5 percent of the population in India is estimated to have underlying health conditions which increase the risk of severe COVID-19, in case they get infected.
As per the study, "Estimates of the number of individuals at increased risk were most sensitive to the prevalence of chronic kidney disease, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and chronic respiratory disease." However, it is very explicitly established in the study that increased risk does not mean high risk.
The study also shares the prevalence of co-morbidities as per particular age groups. It suggests that approximately 10% by age 25 years, 33% by 50 years, and 66% by 70 years had one or more underlying health conditions.