Covid: What is the risk to Donald Trump's health?

He is 74 and has a Body Mass Index (BMI) over 30, which is the clinical definition of obesity. He is 74 and has a Body Mass Index (BMI) over 30, which is the clinical definition of obesity.

So now he has tested positive for the virus, what does it mean?

Age is a clear and strong link to developing a severe infection, leading to hospital treatment and in some cases death.

"But most people who get an infection also get better," Dr Bharat Pankhania, from the University of Exeter medical school told the BBC.

, taking in data from around the world, showed the risk for children and young adults was tiny.

However, at age 75 it is estimated that one-in-25 people who catch coronavirus die. This rises to one-in-seven people aged over 85 and one-in-four over the age of 90.

A similar pattern has been seen by the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

It says eight-out-of-10 Covid deaths in the country have been in the over-65s. And people in Mr Trump's age group are five times more likely to need hospital care and 90 times more likely to die than somebody in their 20s.

It is not clear if the reason is something fundamental about being older, such as the immune system becoming less efficient with time, or if our age is just shorthand for being in generally worse health.

"Age is also tied to heart disease, lung disease, type 2 diabetes, so it's hard to disentangle whether it is their age or comorbidities (other health problems)," Prof Ravindra Gupta, from the University of Cambridge, said.

Obesity has also been linked to more severe disease.

concluded excess weight increased the chances of needing intensive care treatment and the possibility of death.

Fat in the body can influence the white blood cells of the immune system to increase levels of inflammation in the body. Excessive inflammation is why the infection can become deadly.

But again, obesity is linked to a host of underlying health problems including type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

In the first wave of the pandemic there were more men than women needing hospital treatment with 60% of Covid-19


"There are immune differences between men and women," said Prof Ravindra Gupta, which might explain the difference.

But again, men tend to be in worse health to begin with.

Prof Pankhania added: "We do know that being male and older may lead to more severe illness, but that doesn't translate into every older man getting severe illness."

The problem is that it is dangerous to speculate about how the virus will affect any individual person.

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