CDC Announces Expansion of List of People with Medical Conditions at Risk of Severe COVID-19 Illness

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Thursday June 25, 2020 announced the expansion of the list patients with special conditions that are at an increased risk of getting severely ill from COVID-19. The CDC also declared a more speculative list of special conditions that might increase the risk of severe COVID-19.

The CDC announced there was consistent evidence (from multiple small studies, or a strong association from a large study) 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 (Type 1 in another category below)

These changes in severe disease risk classification result in an increase in the number of people who are included in higher risk groups. 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 higher the number of underlying medical conditions people have, the higher their risk.

Second Less Certain Risk

According to the CDC, since COVID-19 is a new disease, there are limited data and information about the impact of underlying medical conditions and regarding whether these disease conditions and the increase the risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Based on what the CDC knows currently, people with the following conditions might also be at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19:

Asthma (moderate-to-severe)

Cerebrovascular disease (affects blood vessels and blood supply to the brain)

Cystic fibrosis

Hypertension or high blood pressure

Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids, or use of other immune weakening medicines

Neurologic conditions, such as dementia

Liver disease


Pulmonary fibrosis (having damaged or scarred lung tissues)


Thalassemia (a type of blood disorder)

Type 1 diabetes mellitus

“Everyone should continue to do their part to implement prevention strategies, such as focusing on activities where social distancing can be maintained, washing your hands frequently, limiting contact with and disinfecting commonly touched surfaces or shared items, and wearing a cloth face covering when you are around people you do not live with, especially when it is difficult to stay 6 feet apart or when people are indoors. By taking these steps, you can help protect yourself, your loved ones, and others around you, including those most vulnerable to severe illness


During the teleconference, CDC Director Robert Redfield added that the number of Americans who have been infected with the coronavirus is likely 10 times higher than the number of cases reported, according to the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Our best estimate right now is that for every case that’s reported, there actually are 10 other infections,” according to Redfield.

Notably, the report released Thursday, added that pregnant women with COVID-19 were significantly more likely to be hospitalized, admitted to the intensive care unit, and receive mechanical ventilation than non-pregnant women, but were not found to be at greater risk for death.

The teleconference highlighted the ongoing need for people to continue following guidelines of social distancing and using face covering when not able to stay at least six feet away from others, the CDC removed the specific age of “older adults” and is now cautioning that “among adults, risk increases steadily as you age, and it’s not just those over the age of 65 who are at increased risk for severe illness.

Children who are medically complex, who have neurologic, genetic, metabolic conditions, or who have congenital heart disease are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 than other children.

According to the CDC, the revisions announced June 25, 2020 were reflected from data available as of May 29, 2020.

See also …

CDC | CDC updates, expands list of people at risk of severe COVID-19 illness

CDC | People of Any Age with Underlying Medical Conditions (This second article includes CDC guidelines for resuming some activities, running errands, and attending events and gatherings)



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