Every fifth person in the world runs the risk of getting seriously ill COVID-19

Analysts estimate that about 1.7 billion people — more than 20 percent of the world’s population — are at risk of developing a serious form of COVID-19 due to underlying health problems such as obesity and heart disease.

Coronavirus, which killed more than 420,000 people worldwide during the first wave of a pandemic, adversely affects patients with comorbidities. A team of experts from the London School of Hygiene examined global disease data sets, including diabetes, lung disease, and HIV, and used them to estimate how many people are at increased risk for severe coronavirus.

They found that one in five people has at least one serious health problem that puts them at risk for complications, even death.

Despite the fact that not all of them can develop severe symptoms if they are infected, researchers say that about 4 percent of the world’s population – about 350 million) are likely to get so sick that they will need hospitalization.