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Two-thirds in U.S. have underlying conditions, at risk for severe COVID-19

New data from the CDC suggests higher rates of infections and more risk for Americans with chronic health conditions. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI
New data from the CDC suggests higher rates of infections and more risk for Americans with chronic health conditions. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

July 23 (UPI) -- As many as two-thirds of American adults have underlying health conditions that put them at increased risk for severe COVID-19, according to data released Thursday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

At minimum, roughly half of U.S. adults have at least one of five high-risk health problems, which include chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart disease, chronic kidney disease, diabetes and obesity, agency researchers said.

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"Risk for severe coronavirus disease 2019-associated illness -- requiring hospitalization, intensive care unit admission, mechanical ventilation or resulting in death -- increases with increasing age, as well as presence of underlying medical conditions," they wrote.

"These findings can be used by state and local decision makers to help identify areas at higher risk for severe COVID-19-associated illness because of underlying medical conditions and guide resource allocation and implementation of prevention and mitigation strategies."

The findings were released as part of the Friday issue of the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report and based on analysis of population data for more than 3,000 counties across the United States.

Obesity was the most common underlying condition reported at 35%, followed by diabetes, 13%, COPD and heart disease, each at 9%, and chronic kidney disease, at 3%, the CDC researchers found.

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