CORONAVIRUS is just “as dangerous” as Ebola, claims an expert behind the largest UK study of the disease.
Scientists have analysed data on almost a third of patients – nearly 17,000 Brits – admitted to NHS hospitals with Covid.
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It reveals 35 to 40 per cent died from their infection.
Chief investigator Professor Calum Semple, a consultant respiratory paediatrician from Liverpool University, said mortality was similar to those hospitalised with Ebola.
He said it is a “common misconception” that Covid is just a “dose of the flu” – warning it is an “incredibly dangerous disease”.
Prof Semple said: “Covid is a very serious disease. Crude hospital case fatality rate is of the same magnitude as Ebola. And people don't get this.
“If you come into hospital with Covid disease and you're sick enough to be admitted, crude case fatality rate is sitting somewhere between 35 and 40 per cent.
“And that's the same case crude case fatality rate for someone admitted to hospital with Ebola. You need to get that people need to hear this, and get it into their heads.
“This is an incredibly dangerous disease.”
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He added the studies in Western Africa show that many Ebola patients only have mild symptoms, but remain infectious.
Prof Semple said: “Some people will be infectious and showed no symptoms at all. With Covid, and some people can do that with Ebola too.
“Covid is has is as dangerous as Ebola, because it's highly transmissible, and it's associated with a very high crude case fatality rate for those that go into hospital.”
Prof Semple praised the majority of Brits for sticking to the lockdown.
But added: “Still we see isolated egregious examples of selfishness, where people think it's okay to meet up in the park and share a four pack of beer.
“And the attitude…particular groups of younger people are taking is ‘All right Jack, this doesn't bother me, why should I be worried”.
“They just don't understand that they're just as likely to catch it and transmit it. And that will affect the rest of society.”
Obese at high risk
The study, which has yet to be peer reviewed, looked at data from 16,749 Covid patients in 166 UK hospitals between early February and mid April.
Fat Brits were 37 per cent more likely to die if admitted with coronavirus.
The study shows age is the biggest risk factor for mortality – with over 80s around 14 times more likely to die than those under 50.
It was followed by dementia, which raised chances of dying from the bug after being admitted with the bug by 39 per cent.
And obesity increased risk by 37 per cent.
Prof Semple said tubby Brits "do particularly badly from Covid disease, so they're more likely to go on to the intensive care units and to go on to die”.
He said deprivation and poorer backgrounds may partly explain their higher risk.
He added: "Nobody who is a big person is just a big person in isolation.
"But (the) disease will cause problems in their lungs, and hearts and kidneys for complex reasons because fat cells secrete chemicals that essentially increase the inflammatory state of the body.”
Nearly half of those admitted with Covid did not have any underlying health problems.
It found patients were typically aged 72, though those admitted to intensive care were typically 61.
Most had symptoms for around four days before admission and spent an average of seven days in hospital.
The pre-print paper is entitled “Features of 16,749 hospitalised UK patients with COVID-19 using the ISARIC WHO Clinical Characterisation Protocol”.
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