With each passing week, we learn more about the COVID-19 pandemic. The CDC has recently updated its list of people who are at increased risk of severe illness and those who should take extra precautions to avoid getting the virus, regardless of age.
Racial & Ethnic Minority Groups
Among those who need extra precautions are some racial and ethnic minority groups, including non-Hispanic Black persons, Hispanics and Latinos, and American Indians/Alaska Natives. These groups have experienced long-standing systemic health and social inequities, and evidence points to higher rates of hospitalization and death from COVID-19 than among non-Hispanic white persons.
According to the CDC:
- Non-Hispanic American Indian, Non-Hispanic Black people, or Alaska Native persons are five times more likely to be hospitalized than non-Hispanic white persons
- Hispanic or Latino persons are four times more likely to be hospitalized than non-Hispanic white persons
This reflects disparities in conditions that influence health outcomes. Examples of social determinants of health disparities include access to healthcare, educational opportunity, and availability of healthy food and physical activity in neighborhoods. Also, the increased risk for these groups reflects the population of essential workers who have been on the front lines of this pandemic.
People with Certain Medical Conditions
On June 25, the CDC updated the list of conditions that put people of any age at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19:
- Chronic kidney disease
- COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
- Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant
- Obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30 or higher)
- Serious heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
- Sickle cell disease
- Type 2 diabetes mellitus
- Cystic fibrosis
- High blood pressure
- Liver disease
- Type 1 diabetes
- A weakened immune system
Reduce your risk of getting COVID-19
It is especially important for people at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19, and those who live with them, to protect themselves from getting COVID-19.
The best way to protect yourself and to help reduce the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 is to:
- Limit your interactions with other people as much as possible.
- Take precautions to prevent getting COVID-19 when you do interact with others.
If you start feeling sick and think you may have COVID-19, get in touch with your healthcare provider within 24 hours.
Protecting Those at Risk
It is important for everyone to take basic steps to slow transmission of the disease:
- Wear a cloth face covering, unless you have a medical exemption or are under the age of 5.
- Keep at least six feet away from other people whenever possible.
- Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly.
- Avoid large gatherings.
COVID-19 can infect anyone, regardless of age. Even if you are not in the high-risk category, using preventative measures can help curb the spread to those who are.
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