In the United States, about 41% of adults had at least one underlying medical condition that may put them at a higher risk for severe Covid-19 outcomes, according to a new report published Thursday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The research, published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly report, looked at five conditions that tend to put people at greater risk for more severe disease from the coronavirus: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic kidney disease and obesity. It did not include other conditions, such as sickle cell disease or organ transplants.
What the study found was that the numbers of adults with these conditions varied by county –– from almost 1 in 4 adults to as many as two-thirds of adults in a county.
In half of US counties, almost 1 in 2 adults were estimated to have an underlying condition.
There were higher proportions of people with these health conditions living in rural areas, and in Appalachia and in the Southeast.
The most common underlying condition was obesity, followed by diabetes, COPD, heart disease and chronic kidney disease.
What this means: The CDC authors said the data on these conditions is limited at the county level. They hope the report can help public health leaders use the information to help them make decisions about what areas might need more health resources that may be overlooked otherwise.
Rural areas, that already had been struggling with a lack of health care resources prior to the pandemic, for example, may need even more help. These areas may have smaller populations, but they have communities that have more people with underlying health conditions that may put them at greater risk of needing to be hospitalized for the disease.