Experts reveal new factor that's 'as big a risk for dying with coronavirus as age'

scientists reveals frailty coronavirus death risk factor
(Image credit: Getty)

Scientists have revealed another factor that could lead to complications with the coronavirus.

Research has found that when it comes to risk factors for coronavirus, frailty should be under the umbrella of old age or having an underlying health condition.

At the moment, those aged over 70 are considered in the vulnerable category, as well as anyone who suffers from an underlying health condition, but being frail is not considered on either of the lists.

Scientists from Cardiff University looked into more than 1,500 coronavirus patients from 11 different hospitals, found that people who were frail were more than two times the amount likely to die from the infection.

MORE: Sitting all day could raise cancer risk – but there’s a small lifestyle change that can help

Earlier this year, when coronavirus first started to spread across the UK, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) said that adults should be assessed according to the Clinical Frailty Scale when admitted to hospital.

“We don’t know how much this is being used in practice”, said lead author of the study Dr Jonathan Hewitt. “Our study shows it is vital to frontline care.

“Every COVID-19 patient should be assessed for frailty because we now know being frail, no matter how old you are or what underlying conditions you may have, affects your chance of recovery from this disease.

scientists reveals frailty coronavirus death risk factor

“Up until now the focus has been on age and other health issues but we believe this should now shift to frailty to make sure patients are receiving the appropriate, targeted treatment.”

According to the Royal College of Nursing, frailty covers ‘fatigue, unintended weight loss, diminished strength and their ability to recover from illness, even minor ones, or injury is greatly reduced [which] can have a marked impact on the quality and length of their lives.

MORE: Joe Wicks' workouts for seniors - how to stay healthy and get fit from your living room

“We need to think of frailty as being just as important as age or underlying health conditions when it comes to treating COVID-19 and we should now look at ways to help reduce frailty in the general population as a protective measure,” said co-author Dr Ben Carter from King’s College London.

“With the measures in shielding being relaxed in coming months and the ongoing possibility of a second wave of COVID-19 it will be important to have a meaningful indicator to help inform decisions as to who may have to shield again.”

Aleesha Badkar
Aleesha Badkar

Aleesha is digital shopping writer at woman&home - so whether you're looking for beauty, fashion, health or home buys, she knows all the best places to splash your cash. She earned an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London in 2017 after graduating from University of Leeds in 2014 with a BA in English and Spanish (which took her to Madrid for a fun Rioja and tapas-packed year). Aleesha has worked for woman&home since 2019, when she joined the team as their digital news writer. A year on the news team gained her quick and reactive writing skills and a love for breaking stories, invaluable insight into where to get the best lifestyle releases first, an AOP awards nomination and the nickname ‘crazy watch lady’ after she became so obsessed with the royals that she followed breaking news alerts on her Apple Watch.

Before joining the woman&home team, Aleesha wrote for their sister site GoodtoKnow, where she covered celebrity news, health advice and where to snap up the cheapest lifestyle buys. With a background in beauty, Aleesha has also written for Stylist and Women’s Health where she developed an understanding into what makes a stellar product and which brands are worth paying attention to. She never leaves the house without a slick of lip balm and a good slathering of SPF, cannot live without an eyelash curler by her side and is always on the hunt for new lipsticks to add to her ‘Lipstick of the Day’ Instagram story highlight (and color-coordinated collection).

But it’s not just beauty buys Aleesha can help you with. Social media savviness, strong PR relationships and a need to stay in the know mean she’s all about the latest fashions, clever gadgets and reliable lifestyle buys too. She loves indulging in an interior craze (with a bedroom drowned in prints, plants and pink), is a regular visitor to the Missoma and Edge of Ember 'New In' pages and can’t resist the allure of a kitchen gadget—just ask her three coffee machines.

When she’s not playing around with new products and testing anything she can get her hands on, Aleesha spends most of her time with her head in a current bestseller, catching up on the latest Netflix craze with her sister, trying out new recipes, drinking wine with her bestie and (in non-COVID times) has been known to be a bit of a jetsetter amongst her friendship group. Oh and she makes the most of her Disney+ subscription by watching the Marvel films on repeat (definitely not just for Chris Evans...).

Follow her latest shopping & lifestyle advice, beauty insights and social antics on Instagram at @aleeshabadkar.

Twitter: @aleeshabadkar

LinkedIn: aleesha-badkar