It is no news that Donald Trump is down with coronavirus, which was revealed on Thursday night, and new figures show the 74-year-old president is five times more likely to be hospitalised from the disease and 90 times more likely to die from it.
Trump and his wife Melania confirmed they had both tested positive for Covid-19 early on Friday, just hours after top White House aide Hope Hicks said she had contracted the virus.
The president and Hicks travelled together on Air Force One multiple times over the last week, including to attend the first presidential debate against Joe Biden on Tuesday night.
But while 31-year-old Hicks is considered a low-risk patient, at 74, Trump faces a much higher risk of being hospitalised or suffering its harshest symptoms, the (Centre for Disease Control and Prevention) CDC has said.
According to CDC statistics, patients between the ages of 65 and 74 are five times more likely to be hospitalised with Covid-19 than someone aged 18 to 29.
Patients of Trump’s age also have a 90 times greater risk of death in comparison to their younger counterparts.
For every 1,000 people in their mid-70s or older who are infected by Covid-19, around 116 will die – a fatality rate of 11.6%.
Clear trends in coronavirus deaths have been clear since the start of the pandemic, with studies determining that age is by far the strongest predictor of an infected person’s risk of dying.
“Covid-19 is not just hazardous for elderly people, it is extremely dangerous for people in their mid-50s, 60s and 70s,” Andrew Levin, an economist at Dartmouth College told the journal Nature.
Levin predicted that getting Covid-19 is more than 50 times more likely to be deadly for a 60-year-old than driving a car.
But Henrik Salje, an infectious-disease epidemiologist at the University of Cambridge, said “age cannot explain anything” as gender can also be a strong risk factor.
Men are twice as likely to die from the virus than women.
His conclusions are supported by World Health Organisation figures which said 1.7% of women who catch the virus will die compared to 2.8% of men, even though neither sex is more likely to catch it.
Jessica Metcalf, a demographer at Princeton University, said differences in the male and female immune-system response may explain these divergences.
She believes the female immune system might be able to detect pathogens slightly earlier.
This could also be the reason that older people are at a much higher risk of dying from coronavirus.
As the body gets older, it develops low levels of inflammation, and Covid-19 may be pushing the already overworked immune system over the edge, Metcalf said.
Underlying health conditions and health issues, such as diabetes and obesity, also have a significant impact on how severe a case of coronavirus might be.
Earlier this year, the CDC warned that anyone considered “severely obese” is at risk of a severe reaction to Covid-19.
Trump’s official physical this year shows he is 6 feet, 3 inches tall and 244 pounds, equal to a BMI (body mass index) of 30.4, just over the 30.0 threshold for obesity.
The US president doesn’t drink or smoke but is known to enjoy fast food, steaks and ice cream.