CDC expands age and condition-related list for those at severe risk of COVID-19

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Source: Center for Disease Control and Prevention, The Associated Press

(WIAT)– The CDC has expanded its list of who is at risk of severe COVID-19 illnesses and removed the specific age threshold from the older adult classification.

Older adults and people with underlying medical conditions remain at increased risk for severe illness, but now CDC has further defined age and condition-related risks. Along with this expanded list, the CDC released a chart showing the highest rate of cases, which were found in 18 to 49-year-olds. The CDC says it’s not just those over the age of 65 who are at increased risk for severe illness. The health organization now warns that among adults, the risk increases steadily as you age.

“Understanding who is most at risk for severe illness helps people make the best decisions for themselves, their families, and their communities,” said CDC Director Robert Redfield MD. “While we are all at risk for COVID-19, we need to be aware of who is susceptible to severe complications so that we take appropriate measures to protect their health and well-being.”

CDC also updated the list of underlying medical conditions that increase the risk of severe illness after reviewing multiple sources. There was consistent evidence that specific conditions increase a person’s risk of severe COVID-19 illness:

  • Chronic kidney disease
  • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
  • Obesity (BMI of 30 or higher)
  • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant
  • Serious heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Type 2 diabetes

An estimated 60 percent of American adults have at least one chronic medical condition. Obesity is one of the most common underlying conditions that increases one’s risk for severe illness – with about 40 percent of U.S. adults having obesity.  The more underlying medical conditions people have, the higher their risk.

CDC also clarified the list of other conditions that might increase a person’s risk including:

  • asthma
  • high blood pressure
  • dementia
  • cerebrovascular disease such as stroke
  • pregnancy

There has been more published and recorded research by the MMWR on risks by comparing data on pregnant and nonpregnant women with laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection. Pregnant women were significantly more likely to be hospitalized, admitted to the intensive care unit, and receive mechanical ventilation, however, pregnant women were not at greater risk for death from COVID-19.


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