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By Karen Bassler
Staff Writer 

Coronavirus Threatens Those Who Are Older, Obese, With Lung Conditions

Series: Coronavirus | Story 87

According to the Pa. Dept. of Health, people aged 65 and older are more likely to have serious coronavirus illness. This may be caused by changing immune systems making it harder to fight off diseases and infection. Underlying health conditions also make it harder to cope with and recover from illness.

Regardless of age or disability, other people who may be at higher risk include: people with chronic lung disease or moderate-to-severe asthma, people with serious heart conditions, people with severe obesity (BMI equal or greater than 40) people taking medication for high blood pressure and people with underlying medical conditions, such as diabetes, renal failure or liver disease.

Other conditions that can cause a person to be immunocompromised include smoking, cancer treatment, bone marrow or organ transplantation, immune deficiencies, poorly controlled HIV or AIDS and prolonged use of immune weakening medications.

According to recent stories circulating on the web, young, healthy, physically fit people are falling ill with COVID-19.

Some get sick, feel better for a day and then must be treated in a hospital ICU. There are no markers as to who will survive the virus and who will not.

It is being estimated that of those contracting the coronavirus approximately 80 per cent will have a case mild enough to treat at home and will recover. Approximately 13 per cent of those contracting the virus will have a case severe enough to require treatment at a hospital and will recover. About 3 per cent of those contracting the virus will be critical cases requiring treatment in a hospital intensive care unit.

There were no percentages available of the critical cases who do not survive.

According to Dr. Deborah Birx, an American physician who serves as the Coronavirus Response Coordinator for the White House Coronavirus Task Force, even if all of the social distancing guidelines are followed “perfectly,” the death toll in the nation could reach 100,000 to 200,000.

The United States already has the highest number of reported infections in the world, with 160,000, and has yet to fully ramp up testing, meaning that many cases are going undetected.


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