How deadly is COVID-19? News 12’s Walt Kane explains

Posted: Updated:

Over 3,000 people have died this year from the COVID-19 strain of coronavirus – 11 in the United States.

With tens of thousands of people across the world infected with the virus, many may be left wondering about how serious the virus is. Some have been stating that the virus has a 2% mortality rate, but that is only for the cases that doctors know about. Health officials say that there are probably a lot of mild cases of the illness that they are not aware of, so they say that the mortality rate could be lower.

PHOTOS: The impact of the coronavirus around the world:


But every patient is different and how dangerous COVID-19 is depends a lot on who the patient is that is infected.

RELATED: U.S. coronavirus death toll rises to 11 with California victim 
RELATED: Coronavirus concerns could impact upcoming sporting events 
RELATED: Coronavirus prevention: What you can do to protect yourself 

The outbreak began in China, which was reporting a 2% mortality rate. But those rates change if patients are broken down by age. For people under 40, the death rate was 0.2%. For people in their 40s, it was at less than half a percent. In fact, the death rate does not hit 1% until a patient is in their 50s.

COVID-19 is a bit more serious for people as they get older. Once again, in China – the death rate jumps to nearly 4% for patients in their 60s. For patients in their 70s, the rate jumps again to 8%. And for patients in their 80s, the mortality rate becomes nearly 15%.

Will A Mask Really Protect You From Coronavirus? - Cheddar Explains

So, what does this mean? Health experts say that, like influenza, the coronavirus is most dangerous to people who are already in poor health or whose immune systems are compromised. This includes people with immune disorders, people undergoing cancer treatments and people with respiratory problems or chronic illnesses.

Health experts are advising the public to take the precautions they would normally take to prevent the spread of illnesses. This includes washing hands, avoiding close contact with other people and avoiding the spread of bodily fluids, such as saliva. Health officials say that this is especially important for people who may have loved ones who are older or in poor health.

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."