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Coronavirus

Coronavirus: Why youngsters are likely to escape the worst

WHO report suggests few patients under 18 face life-threatening illness

Students wear face masks in school after Indonesia confirmed its first cases of COVID-19, in Jakarta on March 4.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- The novel coronavirus appears to hit elderly people hardest, while patients in their teens and younger tend to suffer relatively mild symptoms.

Coronavirus patients 18 years old or less accounted for just 2.4% of the total, and only 0.2% of all patients with life-threatening symptoms fell into that age group, according to a recent report published by the World Health Organization. For those 80 years and up, the mortality rate is 21.9%, much higher than the overall mortality rate of 3.8%.

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