PREPRINT: Age-specific rate of severe and critical SARS-CoV-2 infections estimated with multi-country seroprevalence studies

Abstract: Knowing the age-specific rates at which individuals infected with SARS-CoV-2 develop severe and critical disease is essential for designing public policy, for epidemic modeling, and for individual risk evaluation. In this study, we present the first estimates of these rates using multi-country serology studies, together with public data on hospital admissions and mortality. Our results show that the risk of severe and critical disease increases exponentially with age, but much less steeply than the risk of fatal illness. Importantly, the estimated rate of severe disease outcome in adolescents is an order of magnitude larger than the reported rate of vaccine side-effects; thus, showing how these estimates are relevant for health policy. Finally, we validate our results by showing that they are in close agreement with the estimates obtained from an indirect method that uses reported infection fatality rates estimates and hospital mortality data.

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