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Demographic science aids in understanding the spread and fatality rates of COVID-19

Author

Listed:
  • Jennifer Beam Dowd

    (Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science, Nuffield College, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 3UQ, United Kingdom)

  • Liliana Andriano

    (Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science, Nuffield College, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 3UQ, United Kingdom)

  • David M. Brazel

    (Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science, Nuffield College, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 3UQ, United Kingdom)

  • Valentina Rotondi

    (Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science, Nuffield College, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 3UQ, United Kingdom)

  • Per Block

    (Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science, Nuffield College, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 3UQ, United Kingdom)

  • Xuejie Ding

    (Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science, Nuffield College, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 3UQ, United Kingdom)

  • Yan Liu

    (Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science, Nuffield College, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 3UQ, United Kingdom)

  • Melinda C. Mills

    (Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science, Nuffield College, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 3UQ, United Kingdom)

Abstract

Governments around the world must rapidly mobilize and make difficult policy decisions to mitigate the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Because deaths have been concentrated at older ages, we highlight the important role of demography, particularly, how the age structure of a population may help explain differences in fatality rates across countries and how transmission unfolds. We examine the role of age structure in deaths thus far in Italy and South Korea and illustrate how the pandemic could unfold in populations with similar population sizes but different age structures, showing a dramatically higher burden of mortality in countries with older versus younger populations. This powerful interaction of demography and current age-specific mortality for COVID-19 suggests that social distancing and other policies to slow transmission should consider the age composition of local and national contexts as well as intergenerational interactions. We also call for countries to provide case and fatality data disaggregated by age and sex to improve real-time targeted forecasting of hospitalization and critical care needs.

Suggested Citation

  • Jennifer Beam Dowd & Liliana Andriano & David M. Brazel & Valentina Rotondi & Per Block & Xuejie Ding & Yan Liu & Melinda C. Mills, 2020. "Demographic science aids in understanding the spread and fatality rates of COVID-19," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 117(18), pages 9696-9698, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:nas:journl:v:117:y:2020:p:9696-9698
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Mounir Amdaoud & Giuseppe Arcuri & Nadine Levratto, 2021. "Are regions equal in adversity? A spatial analysis of spread and dynamics of COVID-19 in Europe," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 22(4), pages 629-642, June.
    2. Gershuny, Jonathan I. & Sullivan, Oriel & Sevilla, Almudena & Vega-Rapun, Marga & Foliano, Francesca & de Grignon, Juana Lamote & Harms, Teresa & Walthery, Pierre, 2020. "A New Perspective from Time Use Research on the Effects of Lockdown on COVID-19 Behavioral Infection Risk," IZA Discussion Papers 13599, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Colvin, Christopher L. & McLaughlin, Eoin, 2021. "Death, demography and the denominator: Age-adjusted Influenza-18 mortality in Ireland," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 41(C).
    4. Battiston, Pietro & Gamba, Simona, 2021. "COVID-19: R0 is lower where outbreak is larger," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 125(2), pages 141-147.
    5. Lyócsa, Štefan & Baumöhl, Eduard & Výrost, Tomáš & Molnár, Peter, 2020. "Fear of the coronavirus and the stock markets," Finance Research Letters, Elsevier, vol. 36(C).
    6. Yigit Aydogan, 2020. "A Microeconomic Analysis of the COVID-19 Distribution in Turkey," Bingol University Journal of Economics and Administrative Sciences, Bingol University, Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences, vol. 4(2), pages 11-25, December.
    7. Bloise, Francesco & Tancioni, Massimiliano, 2021. "Predicting the spread of COVID-19 in Italy using machine learning: Do socio-economic factors matter?," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 310-329.
    8. Hakan Yilmazkuday, 2020. "COVID‐19 and unequal social distancing across demographic groups," Regional Science Policy & Practice, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 12(6), pages 1235-1248, December.
    9. Zaveri, Ankita & Chouhan, Pradip, 2020. "Are child and youth population at lower risk of COVID-19 fatalities? Evidences from South-East Asian and European countries," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 119(C).
    10. Borgonovi, Francesca & Andrieu, Elodie & Subramanian, S.V., 2021. "The evolution of the association between community level social capital and COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations in the United States," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 278(C).
    11. Augusto Cerqua & Roberta Di Stefano & Marco Letta & Sara Miccoli, 2021. "Local mortality estimates during the COVID-19 pandemic in Italy," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 34(4), pages 1189-1217, October.
    12. Swapnarekha, H. & Behera, Himansu Sekhar & Nayak, Janmenjoy & Naik, Bighnaraj, 2020. "Role of intelligent computing in COVID-19 prognosis: A state-of-the-art review," Chaos, Solitons & Fractals, Elsevier, vol. 138(C).
    13. Arindam Banik & Tirthankar Nag & Sahana Roy Chowdhury & Rajashri Chatterjee, 2020. "Why Do COVID-19 Fatality Rates Differ Across Countries? An Explorative Cross-country Study Based on Select Indicators," Global Business Review, International Management Institute, vol. 21(3), pages 607-625, June.
    14. Giorgi, Julien & Boertien, Diederik, 2020. "The potential impact of co-residence structures on socio-demographic inequalities in COVID-19 mortality," SocArXiv 84ygx, Center for Open Science.

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