COVID-19: one in 10 deaths were otherwise healthy, UK research finds

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One in 10 people who die from the coronavirus in England and Wales has no underlying health condition, according to analysis of almost 4,000 death certificates for March by the Office for National Statistics.

In 91% of the COVID-19 cases that resulted in death last month, the person who died had a pre-existing condition with heart disease (14%), dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease (14%) and respiratory illnesses such as asthma or severe obstructive pulmonary disease (13%) making up the top three most common issues.

11% of people already had influenza or pneumonia, with people dying from coronavirus having on average three other health conditions.

However, 9% had no pre-existing condition recorded on their death certificate – highlighting that even those who are otherwise “healthy” could be susceptible.

The data also underlined those most at risk. The death rate for men was as twice as high as for women.

One in five deaths were also people aged 80 to 84, with those over 90 experiencing the highest death rate.

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