Skip to content

Dr. Fauci Said These People Are More at Risk of COVID Than Others

“Obese people, particularly morbidly obese people, have a much higher rate of the other underlying comorbidities.”
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

Anyone could catch the coronavirus and get terribly ill. Some groups, however, are more at risk of severe illness than others. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the President and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, spoke with radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt about why obese people are so susceptible to COVID-19. Read on to find out why and how you can protect yourself, or an obese person you know—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus


Dr. Fauci Explained Why Obese People Were So Susceptible to COVID

Young overweight caucasian adventurous teenage girl with blonde hair looking out at the ocean, while leaning on the wooden railing along the beach

"Dr. Fauci," asked Hewitt, "why are obese people so susceptible? I understand heart disease. I understand, but I do not understand obesity."

"You know, that's a great question," answered Fauci. "I think it's a couple of things. I think it's the mechanical movement of the diaphragm to expand and contract your lungs. And we know that because people do better when you've put them prone as opposed to supine. So one of the things that obese people have—they don't have the capability of easily inhaling and exhaling because of the constraints on their plasticity of the lung. That's one of the things." Read on for the second.


Dr. Fauci Said Obese People Have a Higher Rate of Underlying Conditions


"The other thing I believe," said Fauci, "is that obese people, particularly morbidly obese people, have a much higher rate of the other underlying comorbidities, which get a serious outcome. That's diabetes, hypertension, heart disease—the incidents in a morbidly obese person of those other diseases is much higher than the general population."


Dr. Fauci Said Obesity is an "Epidemic" in America

"Obesity is an epidemic in this country," said Dr. Fauci. "That's really one of the unfortunate situations, and there are so many reasons for that, that date back from the time a person is a child, the kind of diet that they get exposed to. And it's particularly disproportionate in certain demographic groups. I mean, African-American, Latinx population—clearly almost certainly related to the lack of accessibility early on when their children [need] a completely varied and healthy diet."


Obesity Worsens Outcomes from COVID-19, Says CDC


"Adults with excess weight are at even greater risk during the COVID-19 pandemic," says the CDC:

  • Having obesity increases the risk of severe illness from COVID-19. People who are overweight may also be at increased risk.
  • Having obesity may triple the risk of hospitalization due to a COVID-19 infection.
  • Obesity is linked to impaired immune function.
  • Obesity decreases lung capacity and reserve and can make ventilation more difficult.
  • As BMI increases, the risk of death from COVID-19 increases.
  • Studies have demonstrated that obesity may be linked to lower vaccine responses for numerous diseases (influenza, Hepatitis B, tetanus)."

RELATED: Doctor Warns "Do Not" Do This Before Your Vaccine


What You Can Do if You Are Obese

Woman with protective face mask setting music on smart phone and putting earphones before exercise.

The CDC recommends you eat a healthy diet, have regular physical activity, get enough sleep and learn to cope with stress. "Over time, these actions can help individuals with obesity improve their overall health. And if they result in even modest weight loss, there are health benefits, such as improvements in blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and blood sugars. And with a lower BMI, the risk of severe illness from COVID-19 is reduced," says the CDC. And to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Alek Korab
Alek Korab is a Co-Founder and Managing Editor of the ETNT Health channel on Eat This, Not That! Read more about Alek