Italy, now under lockdown, has been hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak. It also has one of the world's oldest populations with 60% over age 40.
As of Monday, 463 out of 9,172 people infected with coronavirus in Italy have died. It has a national death rate that is higher than the global average. The new figures make the country home to the largest number of infections outside China. Experts estimate that Italy's aging population may correlate to the deadly nature of the disease within its borders. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Italy has one of the oldest populations in the world, with a median age of about 46 years old. Nearly 60% of the population is aged 40 and over, about 23% of which is over 65 — heightening the population's risk with regards to the novel coronavirus currently spreading through Italy. As of Monday, over 9,000 people in Italy had contracted the COVID-19 disease caused by the new coronavirus, and more than 463 others have died. The new figures make the country home to the largest number of infections outside China, the epicenter of the epidemic. According to Italy's national health institute, the average age of those who have died was 81, and many of the deceased had preexisting health conditions. Only one in five coronavirus patients is between 19 and 50 years old, making the older population significantly more impacted by the virus in Italy. Monday's numbers also confirm that the death rate in Italy is higher than it is in other parts of the world. Four-hundred sixty-three out of 9,172 people infected with the virus in Italy have died thus far, equaling a death rate of about 5%. In contrast, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said the global death rate is only 3.4%. One possible factor for this disparity is that the mortality rate of COVID-19 is significantly higher among the elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions. "If we break it down by age group, our death rates are similar, or even lower, than those reported in China," Giovanni Rezza, the chief epidemiologist at Italy's national health institute, said according to The Wall Street Journal. "For better or for worse, we have a very old population." Another factor is testing. Experts say that as more are tested, however, the death rate is likely to decrease, and Italy has only tested around 54,000 people for the novel coronavirus. The elderly and those with preexisting conditions are higher risk patients A study conducted last month from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention showed that the virus most seriously affected older people with preexisting health problems, which suggests a person's chances of dying from the disease increase with age.
Notably, the research showed that patients ages 10 to 19 had the same chance of dying from COVID-19 as patients in their 20s and 30s, but the disease appeared to be much more fatal in people ages 50 and over. "The elderly with previous pathologies are notoriously numerous here," Massimo Galli, the director of infectious diseases at Sacco hospital in Milan, told The Guardian. "I think this could explain why we are seeing more serious cases of coronavirus here, which I repeat, in the vast majority of cases start mildly and cause few problems, especially in young people and certainly in children." Italy has put new measures into place in order to mitigate the spread of the virus — which has infected over 110,000 people globally — including placing the entire country on lockdown and shutting schools, museums, and other public places. Elderly people throughout the country are stepping up precautions as the virus spreads disproportionately to the elderly, including Pope Francis who is 83. Last week, The Pope canceled public engagements because of a cold, though he ultimately tested negative for coronavirus.
Read more: Dozens of inmates escaped from Italian prisons as the coronavirus triggered riots and brought the country's criminal justice system to a halt Italy's coronavirus death toll rose by nearly 60% in a day as the country put 16 million people on lockdown The healthcare system in Italy's Lombardy region is so strained from the new coronavirus that officials are asking doctors to come out of retirement and nursing students are being fast-tracked to graduation The Louvre, Legoland, and three Disney theme parks are closed because of the coronavirus. Here's all of the major museum and theme park closures so far. The CDC is warning travelers about visiting 5 countries because of the coronavirus. Here's the US government's guidance. Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Why hydrogen cars will be Tesla's biggest threat
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Unlike the rest of the world, Canada is seeing more COVID-19 deaths in women than in men. Here's why.
While the rest of the world is witnessing more men dying of COVID-19 than women, Canada...While the rest of the world is witnessing more men dying of COVID-19 than women, Canada is one of the only countries where that statistic has been reversed. The Canadian province of Quebec is seeing the biggest gender disparity in coronavirus cases, with women making up 59.4% of confirmed coronavirus cases and 54.6% of deaths. Experts believe that the data could be skewed towards females because the province has seen the majority of its outbreak occur in long-term care homes, where the population of females is a lot higher. Another factor is that healthcare workers in the province — of which 80% are female — have also been largely affected. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Early research into the novel coronavirus has shown an unusual pattern among COVID-19 patients: more men are dying than women. But Canada seems to be bucking the global trend, with the latest data showing that it is one of the few countries where women have higher death and infection rates than men. The virus has been particularly devastating for the eastern province of Quebec, which, to date, has more than 42,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and almost 3,500 deaths alone— the highest in the country, according to government statistics. Quebec also sees the greatest gender disparity in COVID-19 cases out of all the provinces. As of May 14, women made up 59.4% of confirmed coronavirus cases and 54.6% of deaths, the Montreal Gazette reported. But why? While research is still underway and the lack of community sampling doesn't show the full picture, some experts believe that there are several explanations as to why the province — and Canada as a whole — is seeing a gender difference of infection and death rates, compared with the rest of the world. Quebec has seen one of the worst outbreaks in its long-term care facilities A large part of Quebec's battle against the coronavirus has been fought in its long-term care facilities, Dr Donald Sheppard, a professor and Chair of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology (MI4) at McGill University, told Business Insider. "One factor is that the outbreak in Quebec is a very different outbreak than what has been seen in other provinces. It's being driven not by community spread, but by a spread in long-term care facilities," Sheppard said. The virus was first brought into care homes by family members who had taken trips abroad during the province's early March break. A failure by authorities to respond quickly and effectively in the days and weeks that followed caused COVID-19 to spread rampantly in dozens of homes, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). The situation was worsened by massive staff-shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) as thousands of care home workers started getting infected with the virus. According to provincial data, 82% of Quebec's dead lived in long-term care homes. On top of that, women make up over 75% of residents aged 85 years and older in care homes, according to data cited in the Montreal Gazette. "What we're seeing here is that a lot of the numbers are being skewed by the fact that we assume that we're taking 50/50 men and women, exposing them to the virus, and what's coming out of the other end is the numbers that you're getting now," Sheppard said. "I actually think what we're doing is taking a population that is around 75% female, exposing them to the virus, and that female portion of that population is older than the male fraction so they're more at risk for bad outcomes and shockingly, this is what you're seeing." "And to make matters worse, the average age of the women in the long-term care facility is older than the average age of the male. And we know there is a direct correlation between age and severity of this illness and its mortality," Sheppard added. Philip Goulder, a pediatrician and research immunologist at the University of Oxford, agrees with Sheppard that when you look only at the population of older people in the country opposed to the total population, the numbers change. "People haven't taken into account when they look at the male and female statistics, the fact that it shouldn't be just 50/50. It should be 60/40, for example, because women live older than men," Goulder told Business Insider "Even in Canada, the number of males dying is still far more than you expect because you got fewer men who are over 70 than females," he added. The problem of outbreaks in long-term care facilities has been witnessed in other parts of Canada too. In April, Canada's chief public health officer Theresa Tam said that nearly half of the known coronavirus deaths in the country were linked to outbreaks in elderly care homes, according to the BBC. Healthcare workers in the province have also been affected badly Another explanation for the different gender disparity in Canada could be that the virus has affected frontline healthcare workers in the country. Women form 70% of workers in the health and social sector worldwide, according to a report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) In Quebec, this number is much higher, with an estimated to be 80% of the workforce comprised of women, according to the Fédération de la santé et des services sociaux (FSSS-CSN) — the largest union representing the province's healthcare workers. "So the healthcare worker population is estimated to be 80% women already, and if you think about what it is in long-term care, it's skewed even further —it's probably closer to 90% of healthcare workers in this setting are female," Sheppard said. According to the CBC, at least 4,000 healthcare workers have tested positive for COVID-19 in Quebec, making up the second-largest portion of infections outside nursing homes. "It's such a massive part of the outbreak. If you think about the fact that 20% of all the cases in the province are healthcare workers," said Sheppard. "We're seeing the dramatic difference between the community outbreak which is smaller, and then the hospital associate outbreak with healthcare workers and with patients in the outbreak," he added. Sheppard believes that is could be the combination of the virus breaking out in long-term care facilities and affecting predominantly healthcare workers in the province that are skewing the numbers that show more women are dying. "If we can split off just the community data in Quebec, people that are not healthcare workers and are not long-term care facility patients, I really think we would see that the balance would be the same as what we have seen in other countries," Dr Speppard said. "In the community, we might have a 50/50 mix, but in long-term care facilities and healthcare workers it's absolutely skewed towards females," he added. Most countries in the world are witnessing a different trend Meanwhile, researchers in other countries have been trying to understand why men seem to be dying at a higher rate than women. One of the first studies that looked into the gender differences in COVID-19 cases was conducted by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention at the beginning of the year. The study found that out of more than 44,000 patients, 2.8% of men diagnosed with the coronavirus ultimately died as of February 11. For women, the fatality was 1.7%. Researchers quickly realized that the trend wasn't exclusive to China and that countries, including Italy, Germany, and South Korea, also started reporting a higher death toll among male patients, according to academic research group Global Health 50/50. Several possible explanations behind this trend have since been discussed. One factor could be that men smoke cigarettes more than women do. Other researchers have pointed to behavioral factors as another possible explanation — surveys suggest US men are less likely to wash their hands. Another possibility could be that those with preexisting health conditions like high blood pressure or heart disease are more likely to die from the virus. In many countries, men usually have higher rates of these underlying health issues. Read more: A train station worker has died after a man who said he had the coronavirus spat at her Twice as many men in the UK are dying with coronavirus as women, and often at a younger age Men could be more vulnerable to the coronavirus because they have higher levels of an enzyme that helps it latch onto the lungs, study says How the Coronavirus pandemic spread across the UK Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Inside London during COVID-19 lockdown
A new study finds that people who are dying from coronavirus potentially lose at least 10 years of their lives
A recent study conducted by the University of Glasgow's researchers found that COVID-19 patients might have...A recent study conducted by the University of Glasgow's researchers found that COVID-19 patients might have lasting health impacts. In fact, an average male can lose about 13 years of his life, and a female 11 years, the study noted. Researchers leveraged data provided by the World Health Organization and calculated the average time a person would have lived if they didn't die from a health event like the coronavirus diagnosis. This study is still awaiting peer review, and it's still unknown whether the novel coronavirus could trigger long-term health conditions. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Researchers have found that a COVID-19 diagnosis might have more detrimental consequences than one might expect. On average, those who died from the novel coronavirus lost more than a decade of their life to the disease, according to a recent study conducted by the University of Glasgow in Scotland. "COVID-19 is not killing people who are already near death, rather it's claiming the lives of many people more than a decade before their time," ABC News reported. In fact, the average male who died from COVID-19 lost about 13 years, and female 11 years, according to the study. As of May 1, the coronavirus has killed more than 213,000 people and infected more than 3.1 million worldwide, but there is very little information around whether this virus has long-lasting health impacts. In fact, there are still many mysteries surrounding the origins, transmission, and outcomes of the illness. University of Glasgow's experts used a statistical measurement called "years of potential life lost," or the average time a person would have lived if they didn't die from a health event like the COVID-19 pandemic, the study noted. They leveraged healthcare and WHO data, and they also accounted for age, sex, and underlying health conditions when making their estimates, ABC News reported. Dr. David McAllister, a senior clinical lecturer and lead researcher of the University of Glasgow's coronavirus study, previously told ABC News that his findings suggested coronavirus has similar long-term impacts as coronary heart disease, in which your life expectancy rate would also decrease. Notably, the study is currently awaiting peer review, in which other experts working in the same field would evaluate and verify the accuracy of its findings. Though no one really knows if coronavirus has lasting health damage, some early cases in China noted reduced lung function among recovered patients, Business Insider previously reported. Additionally, people who have blood clots or preexisting medical conditions also face a higher risk for long term damage. SEE ALSO: We're repeating one of the worst mistakes of the Ebola outbreak in the hunt for a coronavirus cure Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Inside London during COVID-19 lockdown
The number of coronavirus cases globally spiked to two million on Monday evening. The number of...The number of coronavirus cases globally spiked to two million on Monday evening. The number of coronavirus deaths stands at 119,483. Some countries have begun to slowly lift their lockdown restrictions despite the mounting case toll. Experts have warned that lifting restrictions too early may lead to a second wave of infections in places that thought they were in the clear. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. The number of coronavirus cases globally spiked to two million on Monday evening. According to Johns Hopkins University, which has been keeping a tally of the number of coronavirus cases around the world, the number of confirmed cases jumped to 2,019,320 as of 8 p.m. ET. The number of coronavirus deaths stands at 119,483. The US is the country with the largest number of coronavirus cases by far, with over 680,000 cases as of Monday. It has recorded 23,529 deaths, with a majority of deaths taking place in New York state. China, the former epicenter of the disease, has recorded 83,213 cases and 3,345 deaths. The country has begun to slowly reopen its industries after weeks of reporting no new domestic cases. But on Sunday, the country's National Health Commission reported 108 new cases, which authorities say mainly originated abroad, prompting concerns of a second wave of infection. Italy has also emerged as a hotbed for infection, and its cases per capita infection rate has consistently been higher than others. As of Monday evening, the country recorded 159,516 cases and over 20,000 deaths. Experts say that the high rate of infection in Italy may be due to its aging population who are more susceptible to severe cases of COVID-19. The country has one of the world's oldest populations, with 60% of people aged over age 40. Italian doctors treating coronavirus have also reportedly considered prioritizing younger, healthier patients who have a higher survival rate, leaving the elderly more at risk. Spain has the second-highest number of coronavirus cases globally, with 170,099 cases confirmed as of Monday evening. Over 17,700 people have died from the disease. Despite the mounting case count, the country is beginning to ease its strict lockdown measures in order to restart its economy. On Monday, the government lifted some restrictions and allowed some businesses whose employees cannot work remotely to return to work, according to the BBC. Denmark and Austria have also said they are aiming to begin lifting their lockdowns, should the number of coronavirus cases within their borders continue to decline. But despite renewed confidence about stopping the disease spread, experts have warned that lifting restrictions too early may lead to a "second wave of infections" in countries that gained an upper hand on the disease. "There are huge and complex tradeoffs between health and the economy," said Nick Wilson, a professor at the Department of Public Health at the University of Otago in New Zealand. "And some business people possibly think that it is better to keep the economy functioning at a higher level — even if it might mean a large death toll." Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Here's what it's like to travel during the coronavirus outbreak