Risk interactions of coronavirus infection across age groups after the peak of COVID-19 epidemic


Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has incurred significant disease burden worldwide, particularly on the elderly population. This study aims to explore how risks of coronavirus infection interact across age groups using data from South Korea. Methods: Daily new COVID-19 cases from 10 March to 30 April 2020 were scraped from online open sources. A multivariate vector autoregressive model for time series of count data was used to examine the risk interactions across age groups. Case counts from previous days were included as predictors to dynamically examine the change of risk patterns. Results: In South Korea, the risk of coronavirus infection among elderly people was significantly affected by other age groups. An increase in virus infection among people aged 20–39 was associated with a double risk of infection among elderly people. Meanwhile, an increase in virus infection among elderly people was also significantly associated with risks of infection among other age groups. The risks of infection among younger people were relatively unaffected by that of other age groups. Conclusions: Protecting elderly people from coronavirus infection could not only reduce the risk of infection among themselves but also ameliorate the risks of virus infection among other age groups. Such interventions should be effective and for the long term.

Publication Title

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health