How many elderly covid patients get mild cases?

We keep hearing about how dangerous the virus is for the elderly and that they are more susceptible to serious or fatal viral infection. Higher percentages of older patients die from covid. My question concerns the other end of the spectrum. How likely is it that an older person gets the virus and has a mild case? Where is this type of information? I can’t find anything that informs me of this significant piece of the picture. Dopers?

Anecdotal only, NOT a study of any sort, but I’ve got 872 patients who came down with covid, of many ages. I’ve had a lot of young folks who said they barely noticed it, but most folks over 60 said it hit them moderately hard. Though what constitutes ‘moderate’ depends on the individual. Some of my older patients said they were sick as hell but only for 3 days, then were fine. Others felt mildly ill for 6 weeks.

No, I truly lack time and resources to gather data to make a study of this. A pity, really.

This gives rate ratios compared to the 18-29 year old group. I’d think CDC might have produced a more useful presentation, but can’t find it:

I am male, in the 65-69 age group. Overweight and some other problems too. I had a 100.7 fever in the beginning of October, and two different COVID tests said I was positive. Fever was gone 48 hours later, but I stayed in quarantine for the full 14 days. No problems with breathing or anything else, just the usual fatigue that a fever brings with it.

But my wife points out that I very rarely get sick (it might be five years since I took a sick day from work), but when i DO get sick it is a very major thing. So I’m really not sure how to extrapolate from my experience to other people. Objectively, I had a very mild case. But the same thing in someone else could’ve been a lot worse.

My then 94 yo MIL thought she’d caught a cold in April. A bit of fever, slept a lot for 3 days, didn’t really want to eat. All of which is very typical for her getting a seasonal cold. Sounds a lot like @Keeve’s experience just above. Otherwise she’s pretty healthy as the elderly go. Not especially fat, no diabetes, decent BP (if she remembers to take her meds.).

As she was just about recovered her independent living facility started testing all the residents. She came back COVID positive and also positive on a retest a week later. But was negative on the next two weeks’ tests

Now, 6+ months later there’s no evidence she has it or is the worse for wear for her experience. Nobody has done an antibody test on her to see if she’s raised antibodies, but she has passed every “do you have active COVID?” test since.

Was it actually COVID or false positives on the heels of a conventional cold or flu? No way to know. But she enjoyed her 95th birthday party as best we could have it remotely.

One anecdote:

My 93 year old father had it while in a nursing home this summer. He ran a slight fever and felt “kinda sick” for a few days; that was all. He is old and frail and has a long list of medical problems but he is not fat, diabetic, or asthmatic.

Friend (in his 60s) of my parents got sick enough to be treated, but was never hospitalized. Because he was sick, his wife, son and mother-in-law got tested. His mother-in-law was the only one who also tested positive. If she hadn’t been tested, no one would have known, including her. She never had a fever, a cough or anything else. She’s in her early 90s. And 6 months later she’s still doing fine.

Let’s move this from GQ to the Quarantine Zone.

GQ Moderator

I know of two members of a family, 70 and 94. The first tested positive in late March and then the 94 year old two weeks later in April. Both healthy with no comorbidities.

The younger was very ill for 10 days but no hospitalization. The older never became ill, it is assumed that she had a low viral load.

Each stayed isolated in separate rooms on separate floors. The closest they came to contact was the family cat who slept all day with the sick individual but came down for treats and head bumps from the 94 year old. The cat got sick but recovered.

Really makes me wonder about cats as a low viral load vector.

Just out of curiosity, what kind of symptoms did the cat have?

Generally lethargic and could not jump up onto the counter where he is fed. All cleared up in a week or so and back to his ornery self.

My wife’s 97-year-old grandmother was diagnosed with COVID-19 several days ago. She is still at home with relatively mild symptoms at this point. One of her sons lives downstairs from her (he is in his early 70s) and he has it as well. She cooks for him and he chauffeurs her around. They live out in the country in the middle of nowhere. I hope they get through it okay. They are super-nice people. I am amused by their vocal political opinions. He loves Bernie Sanders, and she calls Trump “little Hitler”. She was in her early twenties at the end of WWII, and remembers those times well. I think they have been doing a decent job with mask-wearing and social distancing, but they still got sick.

What is the point of people posting individual anecdotes? Isn’t that the opposite of what the OP is asking for???

If we could find actual data, we’d post that too. Otherwise I agree with you. And I say that as one of the first anecdote posters.

… and as of yesterday afternoon, she is now hospitalized. :pensive:

Ouch! Good Luck!!!

My 86-year-old, diabetic, smoker for fifty years, some COPD father, resident in a memory care facilty, got it.

He thought he had a bad cold.

He’s over it now.


Not the exact data you’re looking for, but hopefully somewhat informative - here’s my post from another thread on COVID-19 infection fatality rate:

From the meta-analysis of IFR from around the world:

(IFR, meaning percentage of infected people who have died)

Under 55 years: “Close to zero”
55-64 years: 0.4%
65-74 years: 1.3%
75-84 years: 4.5%
85+ years: 25%

75% of the 85+ year old group survive. How many of that 75% require medical treatment, I don’t know/haven’t found data on. Also, what’s your definition of “mild?” I’ve learned that a “mild” case of disease in medical terms generally means “not in the ICU,” which isn’t how most people think of the word.

She’s been talking with people on the phone, so she’s definitely not intubated or anything. They started her on medications and are planning on discharging her in a couple of days. I would guess she may still fall in the category of “mild infection”. Yay!

Yaay!! indeed. Good to hear & keep us posted.