National age and coresidence patterns shape COVID-19 vulnerabilityl Interval, and Hazard of Infection

Estimation of how age and coresidence patterns shape the vulnerability of countries’ populations to outbreaks of COVID-19 based on harmonized census data from 81 countries. The age structures of European and North American countries increase their vulnerability to COVID-related deaths in general. The coresidence patterns of elderly persons in Africa and parts of Asia increase these countries’ vulnerability to deaths induced by within-household transmission of COVID-19. Southern European countries, which have aged populations and relatively high levels of intergenerational coresidence, are, all else equal, the most vulnerable to outbreaks of COVID-19. In a second step, the authors estimate to what extent avoiding primary infections for specific age groups would prevent subsequent deaths due to within-household transmission of the virus. Preventing primary infections among the elderly is the most effective in countries with small households and little intergenerational coresidence, such as France, whereas confining younger age groups can have a greater impact in countries with large and intergenerational households, such as Bangladesh.

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