“We are learning more about the risk factors for severe COVID-19 outcomes every day. Age is the strongest risk factor for severe COVID-19 outcomes. Approximately 54.1 million people aged 65 years or older reside in the United States; this age group accounts for more than 80% of U.S. COVID-19 related deaths. Residents of long-term care facilities make up less than 1% of the U.S. population but account for more than 35% of all COVID-19 deaths. Additionally, adults of any age with certain underlying medical conditions are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
Studies have shown that COVID-19 does not affect all population groups equally. The risk of severe COVID-19 increases as the number of underlying medical conditions increases in an individual. People with disabilities are more likely than those without disabilities to have chronic health conditions, live in congregate settings, and face more barriers to healthcare. [The link below] lists high-risk underlying conditions based on available evidence. The list of underlying medical conditions is not exhaustive and includes only conditions with sufficient evidence to draw conclusions.
Actions Providers Can Take:
– Educate and encourage everyone, especially older people and those with underlying medical conditions, to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as a vaccine is available to them. For additional information, including a link to your state or territorial health department’s website on eligibility for and locations for COVID-19 vaccination, click here.Underlying Medical Conditions Associated with High Risk for Severe COVID-19: Information for Healthcare Providers – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
– Encourage patients to keep appointments for routine care and adhere to treatment regimens.
– Consider use of telehealth in coordination with community-based organizations, family members, or other providers, when appropriate, although some patients may not have knowledge of or access to appropriate technology or internet service.
– Encourage patients with underlying medical conditions to continue practicing preventive measures, such as wearing a mask and physical distancing, to avoid infection with the virus that causes COVID-19. This becomes even more important with increasing age and number and severity of underlying conditions.
– Carefully consider potential additional risks of COVID-19 illness for patients who are members of racial and ethnic minority groups, and how to facilitate access to culturally and linguistically appropriate resources. These patients are often younger when they develop chronic medical conditions, might be at higher risk of having more than one underlying medical condition, and at higher risk for acquisition of COVID-19. Studies have shown that people in ethnic and racial minority groups are dying from COVID-19 at younger ages.
– Based on their clinical judgment, healthcare providers might recommend that people with underlying conditions that are not included on this list receive vaccination as soon as it becomes available.”
To access the CDC’s update in its entirety, click the link below.
Underlying Medical Conditions Associated with High Risk for Severe COVID-19: Information for Healthcare Providers
Stay well and stay tuned!