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Italy's coronavirus deaths surge by 627 in a day, elderly at high risk

Italy's coronavirus deaths surge by 627 in a day, elderly at high risk

Saturday, March 21, 2020, 09:23 GMT+7
Italy's coronavirus deaths surge by 627 in a day, elderly at high risk
A person wearing a face mask is seen at the entrance of the Teatro alla Scala as the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in Milan, Italy March 20, 2020. Photo: Reuters

ROME -- The death toll from an outbreak of coronavirus in Italy has leapt by 627 to 4,032, officials said on Friday, an increase of 18.4 percent -- by far the largest daily rise in absolute terms since the contagion emerged a month ago.

On Thursday, Italy overtook China as the country to register most deaths from the highly contagious respiratory disease. 

The total number of cases in Italy rose to 47,021 from a previous 41,035, a rise of 14.6 percent, the Civil Protection Agency said. 

In its most complete analysis of the outbreak yet published, the national health institute (ISS) said the average age of those who died was 78.5 years, with the youngest victim aged 31 and the oldest 103. The median age was 80. 

Some 41 percent of all those who died were aged between 80-89, with the 70-79 age group accounting for a further 35 percent. 

Italy has the oldest population in the world after Japan, with some 23 percent of people aged over age 65. Medical experts say these demographics could explain why the death toll here is so much higher than anywhere else in the world. 

The ISS report, based on a survey of 3,200 of the dead, said men accounted for 70.6 percent of the deaths and women 29.4 percent. The median age for the women who died was 82 against 79 for men. 

By comparison, the median age of those who tested positive for the illness was 63. 

A deeper analysis of 481 of the deceased showed that almost 99 percent of them were suffering from one or more medical condition before catching the virus. Some 48.6 percent had three or more previous pathologies. 

A total 73.8 percent had had high blood pressure, 34 percent had diabetes and 30.1 percent had heart disease. 

On being admitted to hospital, 76 percent had a fever, 73 percent had breathing difficulties, 40 percent had a cough and eight percent had diarrhea. 

The median time between the onset of the first symptoms and subsequent death was eight days, with the median time spent in hospital just four days. 

Of the 3,200 deaths reviewed in the survey, only nine were aged less than 40, all but one of them men.



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