The latest public health data from New York City show a clear disparity in how severe the novel Wuhan coronavirus impacts those infected across age groups.
The three charts below from the New York City Health Department show that while infection remains fairly even across the age spectrum, hospitalization and death rates skyrocket among those who are older with the virus most deadly among those 75 and older.
The data for hospitalizations and death rates was last updated at 5 p.m. Sunday night as of this writing.
The Heath Department data also provides a clear illustration that the virus presents its greatest threat not only to older Americans, but specifically to those with underlying conditions.
According to the city data, a vast majority of virus-related deaths occurred among people 75 and over. Only four of the 1,133 deceased patients were confirmed to have no underlying conditions such as diabetes, cancer, immunodeficiency, heart disease, hypertension, asthma, kidney disease or a GI/liver disease. In contrast, only nine of the 140 deaths among patients between the ages of 18 and 24 were confirmed to be absent of any pre-existing conditions. The only two deaths to occur under the age of 18 were each individuals with underlying conditions.
New York City is one of the only municipalities in the country to release its Wuhan coronavirus data in this level of detail offering important insight into who stands at the greatest risk from the virus as policymakers weigh opening back up a paralyzed economy.
In the U.S., New York state has been hardest his by the crisis with 21 cases per 100,000 people and nearly 123,000 cases total as of this writing. The New York City area is home to about half of those cases with more than 3,000 deaths reported which is far more than what any other American city has seen, according to data compiled by John Hopkins University.
While the virus has been shown to pose a more severe risk to older individuals and those with underlying conditions, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is still urging Americans of all generations to practice social distancing measures to slow the spread of the virus. Younger individuals, public health officials say, can still spread the virus even if they exhibit no symptoms.
The social distancing guidelines introduced by federal officials have prompted a majority of states nationwide to impose government-mandated “shelter-in-place” orders to keep individuals at home effectively shutting down the economy.
The lockdowns, while slowing the spread, have begun to take their toll on the nation’s economic health with nearly 10 million new claims for unemployment filed in the last two weeks and a grim forecast moving forward. According to a poll released Friday by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce with MetLife, a quarter of the nation’s small businesses reported they would be closing their doors for good if the shut down persists for two more months. One in ten said they would be closed permanently if lockdowns lasted for more than just one month.