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Initial CDC coronavirus mortality rates: high for U.S. seniors, negligible for teens

As many as a quarter of those who get infected over the age of 85 could die, agency warns.

Published: March 20, 2020 8:44am

Updated: March 20, 2020 9:20am

The Centers for Disease Control has provided its first estimate of American mortality rates by age group from the coronavirus, confirming the risk to seniors is substantial while teen-agers and children so far have escaped death.

While infections have hit all age groups, the CDC said those above the age of 85 have been most impacted, with an estimated mortality rate between 11 percent and 27 percent. Those between the ages of 65 and 84 were next hardest hit with an estimated death rate between 3 percent and 11 percent. 

Pre-seniors aged 55 to 64 have a mortality rate of between 1 percent and 3 percent, while the death rate for those in the prime of life, ages 20 through 54, is below 1 percent. And no deaths were reported through mid-March in those 19 or younger, according to the agency.

"The risk for serious disease and death in COVID-19 cases among persons in the United States increases with age," the CDC said in its first top-line assessment of coronavirus mortality in America from the first 4,200-plus cases reported in the country.

CDC Mortality Rates Small Chart


The CDC said the implications of its initial calculations is that families with older members need to have a long-term plan to isolate those loved ones and keep them well supplied with food and medicines.

"Social distancing is recommended for all ages to slow the spread of the virus, protect the health care system, and help protect vulnerable older adults," the agency said. "Further, older adults should maintain adequate supplies of nonperishable foods and at least a 30-day supply of necessary medications, take precautions to keep space between themselves and others, stay away from those who are sick, avoid crowds as much as possible, avoid cruise travel and nonessential air travel, and stay home as much as possible."

It added: "Persons of all ages and communities can take actions to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect older adults." You can read the full CDC report here.

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CDC Mortality Rates Small Chart

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