Your Chances of Dying from Covid Increase with Age and Underlying Health Conditions

Microscopic view of Coronavirus.

It is time for perspective. I received two different emails from people regarding the eight cases of Covid-19 reported at Hank’s restaurant in Caruso’s Palisades Village and possible cases reported at Von’s.

Circling the News admits that the pandemic is real, and that Covid-19 is an ever-present danger, but let’s examine the facts.

Testing positive for the virus is certainly not a death sentence, though if you are over 65, the mortality rate from contracting this disease goes up significantly.

We also need to remember that about 37 million people live in California, including an estimated 10 million in L.A. County. The total reported cases in L.A. County have been 449,851, with 7,909 reported deaths. That’s a 1.76 percent fatality rate.

(The statistics for this story are taken from and from the L.A. County Public Health Department).

0- to 17-year-olds: 

Playgrounds are closed because of the coronavirus.

In California, there have been 100,517 reported cases of Covid-19 in kids under the age of 17. Since reporting first started, there have been only two deaths in this age group in the state.

According to the CDC, 188 kids in this category died from the flu last year. During the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, 358 flu deaths were reported for this age group. Generally, younger kids do not suffer serious effects from Covid-19.

According to these statistics (but not taking into account the susceptibility among teachers, administrators and staff), elementary, middle and high schools should be open, and are, in most of the 50 states, and throughout Asia and Europe.

18- to 34-year-olds:

In this age group in California, there have been a reported 294,216 positive cases and 301 deaths.  Less than .01 percent of people who test positive have died. That means that 99.9 percent recover in this age group.

According to the L.A. County of Public Health statistics, homicides, accidents and suicides were given as the top reasons for the 3,705 deaths reported among 18- to 44-year-olds in the county in 2017.

If your waiter tested positive, is the test accurate? (Circling the News has repeatedly asked L.A. County Department of Public Health about the accuracy of rapid tests and has not received a response. A local doctor sent a piece to CTN that said that these tests are 30 to 80 percent accurate. If you were taking a pregnancy test and depending on that percentage . . . .hmmm.) There has been increased testing with all age groups, so one would assume positivity rates would go up and they have.

 35-to-49-year olds:

Obesity is one of the underlying conditions affecting coronvirus recovery.

In California, there have been a reported 210,542 cases and 1,090 deaths, which is .05 percent of the population. This means that 99.5 percent of the people who have contracted the disease have not died.

Generally, the most serious problems with this virus appears to age-related – or if a person has a comorbidity, such as obesity or heart disease. Occasionally, someone will send a story to CTN about a person who was not elderly, and had no underlying conditions, but died. These stories, although tragic, are generally statistical anomalies.

50-to-64-year olds:

In this age group, there have been 165,696 positive cases reported and 3,712 have died. That is about 2.2 percent of people diagnosed.

The leading cause of death was heart disease, followed by cancer and strokes. In California in 2018, there were 62,547 deaths attributed to heart disease.

In a 2017 report, the leading cause of death in L.A. County was coronary heart disease, the second cause was drug overdose (unintentional) and third was suicide.

65- to 79-year olds:

About 69,403 cases were reported positive and deaths in this age group were 6,320, or about a nine percent fatality rate.


There were 28,711 reported cases and 8,004 deaths with a fatality rate of about 27 percent.

According to L.A. County Public Health, at skilled nursing facilities the cumulative Covid-19 deaths have been 2,236 with cumulative positive cases listed at 19,093.

CTN knows that any death is a tragedy. My first husband died of undiagnosed atherosclerosis at age 40. As far as Covid-19, we need to apply common sense. There is no reason that kids can’t be in schools. There is no reason that everyone should stay at home.

If people are over 50 and have comorbidities and don’t feel safe, they should stay at home, but their fear should not dictate that people who are younger should also stay at home.

When Dr. Steven O’Day spoke to the Pacific Palisades Optimist Club on December 1, he described Covid symptoms as like “the worst flu” and said that those who are older have more dangerous symptoms. “Fatality rates used to be 10 percent for those hospitalized,” he said. “Now it is less than one percent.”

Until vaccinations are available, wear masks inside stores and in other situations when you should distance, such as when you are close to a group of people. Keep a social distance from other people (of at least six feet) and wash your hands every time you return home.

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7 Responses to Your Chances of Dying from Covid Increase with Age and Underlying Health Conditions

  1. Megan Williams says:

    There is also the concern about ‘long-haulers’ – those who experience Covid-19 symptoms that linger for weeks, months and perhaps longer. We are just now learning more about this. Something to be considered when discussing best practices for re-opening.

  2. Susan Kanowith-Klein says:

    One of the concerning issues of getting covid is the lingering and yet-unknown after-effects on the body. Some people who have had covid are described as “long haulers” as they continue to suffer from fatigue, muscle pain, and other problems. Since it’s known that the virus can damage lungs, heart, and brain, it’s not yet known what – if any – damage is incurred in people who have “completely recovered” from covid. With time I hope we gain more information about these later effects on the body.

  3. Cristina Stilwell says:

    Thank you for putting things in perspective! Data means nothing if not given a context. It is unfortunate that fear or virtue or both have taken over the better judgement of many people. Back in April I also looked at CDC data regarding the yearly deaths and causes and in that context Covid seemed a lot less than the apocalypse. One thing is for sure, it put a spotlight on the state of wellbeing of many and maybe once again makes us face the reality of obesity in the country (that has been on the rise for some time) and maybe it can bring a change, both at a personal level as well at a society level, as we did with smoking!

  4. leslie C says:

    My only question is: How many of the 489 young people between the ages of 17 to 35, that you mentioned, then infected the over 65 and co-morbid people that they were with? And so it grows and goes!!! Please my neighbors…let’s be smart about this, collectively!

  5. Barbara Hillman says:

    Thank you!

  6. Denise DeSantis says:

    Excellent reporting Sue!

  7. Sue says:


    I have read one or two stories about long-term effects. Do you know of any statistics or data I could cite that details the number of people this happens to?


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