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This Makes You More Vulnerable to COVID-19

The latest information on factors that put you at higher risk.

No one is immune from coronavirus. But some people are more vulnerable than others to contracting the illness and developing severe, even fatal, cases. We've known that since the beginning of the pandemic. But in the last week, two major organizations have updated their findings on people who are especially vulnerable to COVID-19. Read on to find out what they are. And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these Things You Should Never Do During the Coronavirus Pandemic.


Your Race

Positive test result by using rapid test device for COVID-19, novel coronavirus 2019

This week, the World Economic Forum said that COVID-19 has hit Black Americans the hardest. Black Americans are nearly two times as likely to live in areas that would be disproportionately disrupted by a health crisis like COVID-19, and only 20% of Black workers are able to work from home, compared to 30% of white workers. The result: Black Americans have accounted for 74 COVID-19 deaths per 100,000 Americans, compared to 30 for White Americans.

RELATED: If You Feel This, Get Tested for COVID-19, Says CDC


Pre-Existing Conditions


On Aug. 14, the CDC updated its list of pre-existing conditions that put people at risk of severe COVID-19. They include cancer, chronic kidney disease, COPD, a weakened immune system, obesity, heart disease, and Type 2 diabetes.

The agency says several other conditions might increase your risk, including asthma, high blood pressure and smoking.

According to the CDC, 41% of Americans have underlying conditions, and the chance of hospitalization with COVID is six times greater—and the chance of dying of COVID is 12 times greater—if you do.


Your Age

Home care doctor wearing personal protective equipment(PPE).Infection and cross-contamination during home visit to suspect COVID-19 senior patient

At the beginning of the pandemic, COVID-19 was perhaps oversold as a threat that's primary to the elderly. In fact, younger people have been contracting severe cases and dying of the disease. But the latest information we have is that you definitely become more vulnerable to the coronavirus with advancing age—according to the CDC, a person in their 50s is at greater risk than a person in their 40s, and the highest risk group is those 85 or older. About 80 percent of COVID-19 deaths have been in people over 65.


Where You Live

A New Hampshire farmer sits on his tractor

According to the CDC, people who live in rural areas are at increased risk of severe COVID-19. That's because rural Americans tend to have higher rates of obesity, hypertension and tobacco use. They also have less access to healthcare and health insurance, are older, and have higher rates of disabilities.

If you live in a rural area, the CDC suggests following best practices to avoid getting the virus—staying home as much as possible, wearing masks, maintaining social distancing, practicing good hand hygiene—and keeping preventative care and other healthcare appointments.


Here's What You Can Do

Senior woman with face mask outdoors with shopping, corona virus and quarantine concept.

As for yourself, do everything you can to prevent getting—and spreading—COVID-19 in the first place: Mask up, get tested if you think you have coronavirus, avoid crowds (and bars, and house parties), practice social distancing, only run essential errands, wash your hands regularly, disinfect frequently touched surfaces, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 37 Places You're Most Likely to Catch Coronavirus.

Michael Martin
Michael Martin is a New York City-based writer and editor whose health and lifestyle content has also been published on Beachbody and Openfit. A contributing writer for Eat This, Not That!, he has also been published in New York, Architectural Digest, Interview, and many others. Read more about Michael
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