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The virus can cause mild symptoms up to severe respiratory illnesses, including pneumonia and even death. The vast majority of deaths have occurred in people older than 65 years of age and who already had another illness or chronic condition. In contrast, children seem to be less susceptible to the disease, although it is not yet known how they contribute to the transmission of the virus.
Current data places the mortality rate at around 2% (meaning that for every 100 confirmed cases, two people die) although it is still too early to give a figure with certainty. This rate could be lower if there are many asymptomatic or very mildly symptomatic cases that have not been diagnosed. It could also increase if the virus mutates (although this has not been observed so far). In any case, the mortality rate is lower than that of SARS (10%) and higher than that of seasonal flu (which is below 0.1%).