As countries emerge from COVID-19 lockdowns, a study has identified which countries have populations most at risk from the virus. The work was produced by researchers from the European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) Burden-EU Network, which brings together researchers from across Europe working with the global burden of disease (BoD) methodology.
The analysis, published in Archives of Public Health, assessed baseline population-level vulnerability to long-term illness or death from COVID-19 in 45 European countries, based on overlapping two factors - the share of elderly population in a country and years lived with underlying health conditions.
The data reveal that the countries with the most vulnerable populations were Bulgaria, Portugal, Latvia, Lithuania, Greece, Germany, Estonia and Sweden.
Lead author of the paper, Mr Grant Wyper, said: “It’s important to highlight that our assessment provides only a baseline measurement of vulnerability. Other factors will adjust the rate of infection and death due to COVID-19.
“Even so, our measurement is increasingly relevant as the pandemic continues. Our findings can be an important factor in future research to identify baseline risks in individual countries. This can give governments a starting point for decisions on population shielding,” he said.