CDC lists more chronic conditions as high risk for COVID-19

More people are now considered high risk for getting severely sick by the coronavirus. The expanded list by the CDC includes people with various chronic conditions:

  • Chronic kidney disease
  • COPD
  • Obesity
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Serious heart condition
  • Weakened immune system from an organ transplant

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

Initially, the CDC said older adults and people with underlying health conditions were most at risk for serious illness.

But the list of people in danger keeps growing. The CDC now says as many as 60% of Americans have at least one chronic medical condition from the updated list and are at risk of serious illness for the coronavirus.

We spoke to a Kynse Leigh Agles Thursday who is a double organ transplant recipient.

“I stayed home for 103 days,” Agles said.

She has to take medication that suppresses her immune system for the rest of her life, so contracting the coronavirus in her eyes is a death sentence.

“I have to protect myself at all costs because I already survived death once,” Agles said.

Agles told us she’s staying home and following her doctor’s advice about when it’s safe to return to normal activities.

The CDC now says people like Agles are at increased risk of serious illness from COVID-19.

And a list from the medical examiner in Charlotte County shows all the pre-existing conditions people had who died from the virus, many of them matching the new warnings from the CDC.

MORE: COVID-19 deaths – Charlotte County medical examiner (Excel download) 

“That includes people that might have asthma, other cardiovascular diseases, including high blood pressure, which a large percentage of the population certainly has,” said Robert Hawkes, the director of the FGCU physician assistant program.

Hawkes says, the more we learn about who is at risk, the more we learn about how dangerous the virus really is.

“If you’re having other underlying medical conditions, such as cardiovascular hypertension or other respiratory problems, it’s just really hard for their body to overcome that,” Hawkes said.

And the CDC says older adults aren’t the only ones at risk anymore. Their warnings are also expanding for younger people.

“They can get COVID-19, and they can get very sick from it,” Hawkes said. “And, in some cases, we’ve certainly seen recent deaths of teenagers and people in their twenties.”

Hawkes also added he wouldn’t be surprised if the list of warnings from the CDC keeps growing beyond what it did today.

Reporter:Justin Kase
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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