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Persons above 50 years with pre-existing conditions most vulnerable to COVID-19: White House doctor

Press Trust of India  |  Washington 

Those above 50 years with pre-existing medical conditions are the most vulnerable to COVID-19, an analysis of the mortality data from Europe and China by a leading American doctor in the White House Coronavirus Task Force has revealed.

"In the mortality data that has been provided to us there has been no child under 15 that has succumbed to the virus in Europe," White House Coronavirus Task Force Coordinator Dr Deborah Birx told reporters at a conference here.

"So, we see that there is less severity in children and so that should be reassuring to the moms and dads out there," Dr Brix said.

"To generation Z and to my millennial colleagues who have been really at the forefront of many of these responses less than 1 per cent of all of the mortality is less than 50 and so this is I think also a very important point," she said.

That doesn't mean that individuals will have severe disease so still 99 per cent of all of the mortality coming out of Europe in general is over 50 and with pre-existing conditions, she added.

The pre-existing condition piece still holds in and only with the majority of the mortality having three or more pre-existing conditions, the White House official said.

According to Dr Brix, ministers of health from around the world have been sending them their data despite the fight that they are in themselves particularly their European counterparts.

"They continue to send us primarily their mortality data which is really very critical because when you are in the midst of this level of fight that many of the European countries are following mortality data will give you the best and site right now on how the epidemic is proceeding in those countries because they really can't be testing at the level to really understand the depth and breadth of their new cases," she said.

While the analysis of the data is reassuring, she said, it does not change the need to continue to protect the elderly and in order to protect the elderly they all need to continue to do the President Donald Trump's directives and guidance for the next week of the 15 day challenge.

According to US Vice President Mike Pence, so far 313,000 tests have been completed with test results delivered to Americans. Of these more than 41,000 have contracted coronavirus, he added.

The number of tests is expected to increase significantly in the coming days, he said.

"We also will be issuing today new health and human services guidance to direct all commercial labs to prioritise testing for hospitalised patients and that guidance is going out tonight. We also reminded the governors today that all state laboratories, all hospital laboratories are now required by law to report the results of coronavirus test to the CDC," he added.

Americans, he said, are now eight days into the president's 15 days to slow the spread. The American people are rising to the challenge, Pence said.

"But in the days to remain between now and the end of the 15 days, we're going to need every American to take this seriously. Listen to your state and local health authorities where there may be additional and stronger guidance in areas where the coronavirus spread has been more severe," he said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, March 24 2020. 12:12 IST