With rising cases of COVID-19 around the world, public health experts are urging people to continue mitigation techniques like social distancing and wearing a mask to lower their risk of infection, especially if they belong to a high-risk group.
A new study out of Oxford University, the biggest of its kind, confirmed some findings from earlier studies in regards to factors that can raise the risk of death for COVID-19 patients, reports The New York Times.
The massive study looked at the medical records of 17 million adults in England, including over 10,000 people who died due to COVID-19, and determined that certain risk factors made people more susceptible to death if infected with the novel virus.
Dr. Ben Goldacre, one of the study’s authors, said “a lot of previous work has focused on patients that present at hospital. That’s useful and important, but we wanted to get a clear sense of the risks as an everyday person. Our starting pool is literally everybody.”
The study, published in Nature, found that factors like diabetes, obesity, a compromised immune system, and severe asthma make people more vulnerable to complications from the coronavirus.
Men were found to be more likely to die compared to women of the same age, and patients older than 80 were at least 20 times as likely to die from coronavirus compared to someone in their 50s.
The study also found that race and socioeconomic factors like poverty increase a person’s likelihood of dying from COVID-19. Researchers found this trend even after making statistical adjustments for factors like medical conditions, sex, and age.
Participants in the study were required to have at least one year of prior follow-up with a general medical practice in order to ensure baseline characteristics.