1 in 5 people at risk of severe Covid-19 due to other illnesses: Study

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One in five people worldwide have an underlying health condition that puts them at risk for severe Covid-19 illness if they contract the virus, a new study has claimed.

The study has been published in The Lancet.

An estimated 1.7 billion people - more than 20 per cent of the world’s population - are at risk, the study said. These people either have type 2 diabetes or heart disease, the researchers said. The other diseases listed by the researchers include chronic kidney disease, chronic respiratory disease and a range of other chronic condition.

According to the study, a little over 20 per cent of the population has an underlying condition.

The study has been conducted by a team of experts from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. The researchers took risk factors highlighted in official guidelines and used broad epidemiology data such as the Global Burden of Diseases study to arrive at their estimates.

Regions with younger populations, such as Africa, present less risk overall despite some spots where the prevalence of HIV and AIDS is high, the authors said. Others like Europe, where average ages are higher and almost a third of people have at least one health condition, may be less resilient.

Researchers said the findings could help governments make decisions on who receives a Covid-19 vaccine first when one becomes available.

Meanwhile, India on Tuesday reported 10,667 new Covid-19 cases and 380 deaths in the last 24 hours (between Monday and Tuesday). The country’s tally stands at 3,43,091, according to the Union health ministry. The death toll is 9,900.

According to the health ministry’s dashboard, the number of active cases of the disease in the country is 1,53,178.

Global coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases crossed 8 million on Monday, with the pandemic gathering pace in Latin America and a raft of EU nations reopening borders to fellow Europeans, adding to concern over challenges the world will face in the long fight against Covid-19.

The United States is the worst-hit country with 117,959 deaths from 2,170,722 cases.

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