The fatality rate of the coronavirus is pegged at around 3.5 percent globally, and it's generally observed that elderly people have a higher risk of dying from the virus infection. Now, top Chinese doctors have added a little more clarity to the risk profile.

Chinese doctors have found that people with high blood pressure are at greater risk of dying from the Covid-19 infection than others. A senior Chinese intensive care doctor, who has been treating critically ill patients in the epicentre of the outbreak, told Bloomberg that patients with hypertension are more prone to falling into 'severe distress' and die subsequently.

Coronavirus status as of 9 March, 2020
Coronavirus status as of 9 March, 2020 GISAID

'Hypertension is a key dangerous factor'

The finding was arrived at after analysing the health profile of a group of 170 patients who died in January in Wuhan. Nearly half of those suffered from hypertension, the doctor said. "That's a very high ratio ... From what I was told by other doctors and the data I can see myself, among all the underlying diseases, hypertension is a key dangerous factor," Du Bin of the Peking Union Medical College Hospital told the news agency.

"Though there is no research published on that yet, we believe hypertension could be an important factor in causing patients to deteriorate, leading to a bad prognosis," the doctor added.

Studies had already found that older patients and people with preexisting health conditions had a greater chance of dying after being infected with coronavirus. According to a Chinese CDC study, people with cardiovascular diseases had a 10 percent chance of dying if they had coronavirus. The chances of death in diabetes patients was 7 percent while, cancer patients carried more than 6 percent risk.

coronavirus Wuhan
87-year-old patient and doctor watch sunset outside a hospital in Wuhan. Twitter/chenchenzh

Nearly whole of Italy in lockdown

The coronavirus outbreak has killed nearly 4,0000 people worldwide, more than 3,000 of them in China, the epicentre of the virus contagion. The total number of confirmed cases of the Wuhan virus soared past 110,000, while more than 100 countries and territories have reported the outbreak. In Italy, which has emerged as the worrying trouble spot, more than 450 people have died so far of the virus. On Monday alone, 97 people died, forcing the government to place almost the whole of the country in lockdown.

The silver lining from China is that China reported no new local coronavirus cases outside of Hubei for the third day. South Korea, which has the third highest number of infections, also reported fewer cases of new infections. Meanwhile, Canada reported the first death from coronavirus on Monday. In India, the virus the number of infected people inched up slowly to go beyond 50.

Italy prison riots
Twitter/My Amigo

Varying fatality rates

Italy has so far the highest fatality rate from the virus. As per data provided by the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the death rate in Italy from the coronavirus is 3.9 percent. The latest spurt in reported fatalities on Sunday indicate that the numbers may further increase the death rate in the country. The World health organisation (WHO) had initially estimated that the fatality rate from the China virus would be around 2 percent. However, this was proved wrong in the second phase of the outbreak. As per data, the global fatality rate is 3.4 percent.

"We'll keep an eye on old people and those with high blood pressure. They are the key focus," Dr. Du said.