Five reasons COVID-19 is less severe in younger age-groups

This article was originally published here

Evol Med Public Health. 2020 Dec 26;9(1):113-117. doi: 10.1093/emph/eoaa050. eCollection 2021.


The severity of COVID-19 is age-related, with the advantage going to younger age-groups. Five reasons are presented. The first two are well-known, are being actively researched by the broader medical community, and therefore are discussed only briefly here. The third, fourth and fifth reasons derive from evolutionary life history theory, and potentially fill gaps in current understanding of why and how young and old age-groups respond differently to infection with SARS-CoV-2. Age of onset of generalized somatic aging and the timing of its progression are identified as important causes of these disparities, as are specific antagonistic pleiotropic tradeoffs in immune system function. Lay Summary: Covid-19 is less severe in younger age-groups than it is in older age-groups. Five advantages of youth are identified and explained in light of evolutionary life history theory, with a focus on the pattern of aging and specific tradeoffs between early and late immune system function.

PMID:34853694 | PMC:PMC7799091 | DOI:10.1093/emph/eoaa050