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Jakarta Post

People over 60 almost 20 times as likely to die of COVID-19 as young people: Study

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, December 16, 2020   /   05:35 pm
People over 60 almost 20 times as likely to die of COVID-19 as young people: Study A gymnastics instructor wearing protective gear leads a morning exercise for COVID-19 patients at a hotel repurposed to treat asymptomatic patients in Karawaci, Banten, on Oct. 5. (AFP/ADEK BERRY )

The national COVID-19 task force has conducted a study into the COVID-19 mortality risks based on age and comorbidity factors. 

According to an analysis by a team of experts in the past five months, COVID-19 patients aged 31 to 45 had 2.4 times the mortality risk of those aged between 19 and 30, while people aged 46 to 59 were 8.5 times more at risk.

Task force spokesman Wiku Adisasmito said during a virtual press conference on Tuesday that the mortality risk was 19.5 times higher for COVID-19 patients aged 60 and above.

The research, which was published on PLOS One, also shows that COVID-19 patients with pre-existing kidney diseases have a 13.7 times higher mortality risk than patients without kidney diseases. 

Wiku also noted other comorbid factors that put COVID-19 patients at higher risk of death, including heart disease, diabetes mellitus and hypertension.

According to the study, the mortality risk of COVID-19 patients with heart diseases is 9 times higher, while the mortality risks of patients with diabetes mellitus and hypertension is 8.3 and 6 times higher, respectively.

Wiku further explained that COVID-19 patients with one comorbidity factor had a 6.5-fold higher mortality risk, while the risk for patients with two comorbidity factors was 15 times higher.  

Wiku said the findings showed which groups should be prioritized. 

“If you fall in a high-risk category or live with someone who does, then you need to implement strict health protocols,” he said, referring to the 3M protocol of menggunakan masker (mask-wearing), mencuci tangan (hand-washing) and menjaga jarak (phyiscal distancing). 

Read also: Why are older people more at risk of coronavirus?

Previously, National COVID-19 task force chief Doni Monardo has said that 92 percent of COVID-19 patients in certain regions of the country had comorbidities, putting them at a high risk from the disease.

“Based on data in the past six months, up to 92 percent of patients in some regions have comorbid factors, with diabetes being the most common one,” he said during a public discussion on Sept. 16, as quoted by

He added that the province with the highest number of COVID-19 patients with diabetes was East Java.

“COVID-19 is very lethal to the high-risk group [the elderly and patients with comorbidity factors],” he said.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has also warned that elderly people – those aged 60 and above – especially those with comorbidity conditions like diabetes and high cholesterol, are more at risk from COVID-19. 

Older people are more prone to serious complications from COVID-19 because of physiological changes associated with aging, weaker immune function and multimorbidity, according to the WHO.

The United Nations health body has said that 95 percent of COVID-19 deaths in Europe are among people over 60, while the United States’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has estimated that eight out of 10 deaths reported in the US affects adults aged 65 and above.

Soedarsono, the senior pulmonologist and the head of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases at the COVID-19 referral hospital Dr. Soetomo in Surabaya, East Java, said fatalities were indeed more common among the elderly with comorbidity factors, but there had also been cases of young adults with such factors succumbing to the disease. 

"Young patients aged between 30 and 40 years have died as well, mostly because of underlying health conditions. Young people without such conditions have a higher chance of recovering. The most common conditions are hypertension, heart disease and diabetes," he told The Jakarta Post on May 16. (jes) 

Editor’s note: This article is part of a public campaign by the COVID-19 task force to raise people’s awareness about the pandemic.