Of the first 100 reported fatalities, many people appear to have had underlying health conditions, making it harder for their bodies to fight off covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Some had diabetes, kidney failure, hypertension or pulmonary ailments.Nearly all — about 85 percent — were older than 60, and about 45 percent were older than 80. It’s unclear how some of them contracted the disease, but more than a third were living in residential care facilities when they became ill.What is known about the scale of transmission and the high number of deaths among vulnerable populations — like at the Life Care Center of Kirkland in Washington state, where 27 of the facility’s 120 residents have died — has experts deeply concerned.“I see that as the ‘canary in a coal mine’ situation,” said Fred Buckner, an attending physician at the University of Washington Medical Center. “I suspect it’s going to be taking off in other locations just like it is in the Seattle area. There’s no reason not to think that. Obviously, that means more deaths.”In addition to the cluster of cases at Life Care Center, health authorities are monitoring cases at Lambeth House Retirement Community in

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