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Under 45? Chance of dying from coronavirus is one in 67,000, study suggests

In contrast, of almost 45,000 total deaths, 40,023 were in those over 65.

Research, carried out by University of Cambridge statistician, Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter, shows dramatically different risks of dying from the virus according to age.

The figures follow suggestions that personal risk scores that help people determine how dangerous the virus is to them could help the UK come out of lockdown.

Some scientists believe shielding the most vulnerable, while letting others carry on with everyday life, could be a route out of the crisis which has saw the economy crash by a record 20.4 percent in April.

The new study – which analysed deaths according to age during the nine weeks between the 28 March and 29 May – concluded healthy children and young adults have been exposed to an extremely small risk during the peak of the epidemic, a risk it found “which would normally be deemed an acceptable part of life.”

During the same period 487 people under 44 died from coronavirus.

The risk exponentially increased with age, at around 12-13 percent each year – or doubling every five to six years.

In those aged 45- 64 there were 4,359 covid deaths in people over the same period, the equivalent to one in 3,487 deaths of those who caught the infection.

And for pensioners aged between 65-74 the related risk increased to 6,682 deaths compared to a population of almost six million in this age group. This is the equivalent of 1 death among 887 of those who caught the virus.

For those aged 75-90, the risk was highest with almost 24,000 (23,679) deaths among 4 million 385 thousand of that population, the equivalent of one in 186.

Age and gender are among a series of risk factors for the virus which also underlying health conditions including obesity and diabetes.

Research shows 90 percent of all those who died had a pre existing health condition.

Research by the Office of National Statistics has shown the BAME community also has an increased risk from the disease.

Professor Spieglehalter said. “It is very good for people to have a reasonable idea of the risks and these figures demonstrate people of different ages have been exposed to dramatically different risks. As Covid-19 changes from being seen as a societal threat to a problem in risk management it is essential we get a handle on the magnitudes of the risk we have faced and may face in the future and find ways to communicate this appropriately.”

He added: “Some people overestimate their risk of coronavirus which has created a level of anxiety. However for many people, for example children and young adults, the risk of dying from coronavirus is very small. Of those that died we know 90 percent had underlying health conditions so the risk among healthy people is a fraction of the overall deaths. The risk was highest in men over 90, accounting for 1 in 55 of all those who caught the infection – so there are extremes.”

Professor George Davey Smith, of the University of Bristol and Professor Spiegelhalter, of the University of Cambridge, believe personal risk scores could help the majority of people get back to normal life.

They pointed out that “given the virus is unlikely to disappear in the foreseeable future” a targeted shielding approach provided a way forward in a recent editorial in the British Medical Journal.

The BMJ article warned: “Such a targeted approach would require a shift away from the notion that we are all seriously threatened by this disease which has led to levels of personal fear being strikingly mismatched to objective risk of death.”

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