As cases of the novel coronavirus now known as COVID-19 continue to rise worldwide, researchers have learned that older adults may be particularly susceptible to the respiratory illness, which can cause pneumonia and symptoms such as fever, cough and shortness of breath.

"The data continues to say that the people who are at higher risk for severe disease and death are those who are older and with underlying health conditions,” Nancy Messonnier, M.D., director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said at a press briefing in early February.

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Underlying conditions play a role 

This is typical of coronaviruses, a family that includes the viruses behind the SARS. “Age and your condition in life will really drive your susceptibility. There are two main reasons for older adults’ increased susceptibility to coronaviruses. The first: They are more likely to suffer from underlying conditions that hinder the body's ability to cope with and recover from illness, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
The second has to do with how our immune response changes with age.

The coronavirus that became a global pandemic before mid-March affects the part of the lungs where gas exchange — the delivery of oxygen to the bloodstream and the removal of carbon dioxide — takes place. As you get older, your lungs are not as elastic or as resilient as when you're younger. Those kinds of things, coupled with any kind of health issue you might have, trend toward this loss of airway function and respiratory function. 

As scientists work towards creating a vaccine for this deadly virus, hygeine plays an important role in preventing the same. Handwashing keeps germs away from your insides 
Scientists are continuing to work to develop targeted treatments for COVID-19. In the meantime, health officials recommend that people practice preventive hygiene measures, including thorough handwashing with soap and water.

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