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Between 800,000 and 2 million Kenyans could die from the novel coronavirus should the country get into a full-blown epidemic, a new study by scientists from Amref Health Africa says.

According to the study released on Good Friday, most of the victims will be those aged above 65 as well as individuals suffering from chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, respiratory disorders, cancer and HIV/Aids.

The projections take into consideration studies already done on the disease that shows the effects of the virus on the aged, individuals with underlying health conditions as well as its effect on different sexes.

Key to these statistics are the estimated number of Kenyans living with underlying health conditions such as heart ailments, hypertension, diabetes, HIV/Aids as well as malnutrition. These might combine with devastating effect to push the death rates to the millions should the disease get to a full-blown crisis such as is currently being experienced in Italy, Europe, the UK as well as the US.

Global trends show that even with the best healthcare systems in the world, 50 per cent of those with severe Covid-19 disease die. Studies conducted in China, Italy and Spain, some of the worst hit countries, show the possibility of death from the disease increases with age, especially after 65 years.

Other than age, the sex of a person also matters since while both men and women can get infected, men tend to have worse disease outcomes. In some places, the proportion of men to women dying from the disease has been found to be 70 per cent.

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