Learn about at-risk people for the Coronavirus

GoMd Medical Experts Weigh In On Those Most At-Risk Against COVID-19

Written by:

Thomas J. Lewis, Ph.D.
Dr. Devaki Lindsey Berkson

Vulnerable Populations

“Preliminary data suggest that older adults and persons with underlying health conditions or compromised immune systems might be at greater risk for severe illness from this virus,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

People with compromised immune systems, including cancer patients and people with HIV/AIDS, are at a higher risk from the coronavirus. Immunocompromised status extends beyond just those with these two conditions. The CDC reports, “Six in ten Americans live with at least one chronic disease, like heart disease and strokecancer, or diabetes. These and other chronic diseases are the leading causes of death and disability in America, and they are also a leading driver of health care costs.

Those with underlying health conditions are also very susceptible. They too often have poor immune systems and inadequate killer cell function. People with chronic health conditions are especially at risk if their illness involves the lungs, kidneys, heart, esophagus, or bladder issues. This is because the virus can rapidly attach to specific cells inside these tissues and then proliferate and render havoc.

COVID19 At Risk Populations by GoMd

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Age is an important risk factor for death from COVID-19. On March 3, WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that 3.4 percent of reported cases have died so far, but as the outbreak evolves, that number is likely to change.

This disease, compared to MERS, strikes the elderly the hardest. If you are 65 or over, with underlying health issues, you’re at increased risk. Over 70 years old the risk rises and possibly triples (if not more than that) when people are in their 80’s.

Science demonstrates that older immune systems have less natural “killer cell” activity, which protects against foreign invaders. Seniors have thinner mucous membranes, so immune cells have less healthy “fight” in them. Elders often are insufficient in basic nutrients that act as natural anti-virals, such as Vitamin A, Vitamin D, and Vitamin C.

COVID19 Deaths by Age_GoMd

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As we age, so do our immune systems. And more so if there is an underlying illness. Or if the person does not regularly exercise, eat healthy food, get enough sleep, etc. The highest fatalities occur in the 8th decade.