30 Mar 2020

Covid-19: Elderly and young less likely to have it, so far

2:04 pm on 30 March 2020

More New Zealanders in their 20s have Covid-19 than any other age group, Ministry of Health figures show, and it's likely because most cases are connected to overseas travel.

A woman with a backpacker wheels a suitcase at an airport

Photo: 123RF

Ministry of Health data about the first 500 cases of Covid-19 shows people of European ethnicity in their 20s are the most likely to test positive for the virus.

Today the Ministry said 589 people have been confirmed to have the virus. 12 are currently in hospital, and 63 have now recovered.

A West Coast woman in her 70s with an underlying serious medical condition, was the first person in the country to succumb to the disease, she died early yesterday morning.

Of the first 500 cases, 74 per cent were of European ethnicity, 7 per cent were Asian, and 4 per cent Māori. Pacific Islanders are the least likely to have contracted it so far - making up just 2.3 per cent.

The age group most likely to have tested positive was those in their 20s, who made up 25 per cent of the cohort. The next highest group was those in their 50s, who make up 18 per cent, and only 7 per cent were aged 70 years or older.

Covid-19 cases by age as at 29 March

The first 500 Covid-19 cases by age. Photo: Ministry of Health

Very few young people were diagnosed with the virus in the first 500 cases; only 7 children under ten year old, and 31 teens. And more women had it (274) than men (235).

Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said the cases so far are strongly linked to people travelling into the country from overseas.

Of 455 cases where the Ministry has gathered enough data to track the person's movements, 57 per cent had a direct link to overseas travel.

Another 26 per cent of those 455 have had close contact with other existing cases, and only about ten 2 per cent are thought to have caught the virus from community transmission. However he said he expects community transmission will increase.

Auckland and Southland have been hit the hardest by the virus so far, with Auckland DHB recording the highest number of cases, followed by Southern, then Waitemata.

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