A few people with COVID-19 can progress to a severe illness. Older people and individuals with chronic medical conditions like diabetes or heart problems have the highest risk of severe disease. These people may develop pain with breathing, difficulty breathing and other serious respiratory symptoms. It may take several weeks or longer to recover.
According to WHO, about 80 per cent of people recover from COVID-19 without special treatment. Around 15 to 20 per cent of cases have become quite serious. Those who develop a severe illness with COVID-19 need hospitalization to prevent and treat complications. Possible complications include:
- Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)
- acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS)
- Kidney failure
There is also a risk of death when the illness is severe, often from a secondary bacterial infection. The currently reported case fatality rate is approximately 1.4% to 2% amongst patients with a broad spectrum of disease severity.