A team of researchers from the Lancet Global Health have found that maximum number of coronavirus-related deaths had a strong connection with underlying health conditions.
An estimated 170 crore people, that is 22 per cent of the world's population, have at least one underlying health condition that could increase their risk of severe coronavirus if infected, according to the Lancet Global Health journal that was published recently.
In India, at least 21.5 per cent of the country's population is estimated to have underlying health conditions that may increase their risk of the severe stage of coronavirus, if infected, Lancet Study said.
However, if all individuals aged 50 years or older are counted who do not have any underlying condition, then the share of the global population at risk increases to 34 per cent.
According to Lancet, individuals at increased risk of COVID infection were most sensitive to the prevalence of chronic kidney disease, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and chronic respiratory diseases.
The study added that the risk of severe COVID-19 was higher in older individuals and those with underlying health conditions. Moreover, males were twice as likely to be at high risk than females for coronavirus infection. As per the study, "There was approximate twice the number of males at high risk than females in all age groups younger than 65 years".
Besides, among the estimated 34.9 crore people, 4 per cent of the global population, would require hospital admission if infected.
Since there is no coronavirus vaccine, the Lancet study said countries, especially the populated ones, must adopt intensive physical distancing measures. According to the study, "This approach could be especially important at times and places where health systems risk being overwhelmed by cases".
The authors based their estimates on disease prevalence data from the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries and Risk Factors Study (GBD) 2017, UN population estimates for 2020, and the list of underlying health conditions relevant to COVID-19 as defined by current guidelines.
As per the latest data by the John Hopkins University, the deadly virus has infected nearly 7.82 million people and has caused 432,000 of deaths.