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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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Photo: John Nacion/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Nearly 6% of reported U.S. patients who tested positive for the novel coronavirus also had underlying health conditions, which typically led to more hospitalizations and the need for intensive care, according to new data out Tuesday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Why it matters: Based on preliminary U.S. data, people with underlying conditions such as diabetes mellitus, chronic lung disease and cardiovascular disease appear to be at higher risk for severe COVID-19–associated disease than those without these underlying conditions.

Data collected from 122,653 people show 7,162 patients had one or more underlying health conditions or risk factors.

  • Researchers still do not know if patients who have acute health conditions are at greater risk for more severe symptoms associated with COVID-19.

By the numbers: Many of these health conditions are common in the U.S., based on 2017 and 2018 data from the CDC.

  • Nearly 11% of American adults self-reported they had diabetes.
  • More than 10% of adults also reported having heart disease, excluding hypertension.
  • About 8% of adults said they had asthma.

The bottom line: People with underlying health conditions who are experiencing symptoms of coronavirus including fever, cough or shortness of breath should immediately contact their health care provider.

Methodology: Data from laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to CDC from 50 states, four U.S. territories and affiliated islands, the District of Columbia, and New York City with February 12–March 28 onset dates were analyzed.

Go deeper

Biden extends mask mandates for travelers into 2022

President Biden delivers remarks at the White House on Dec. 1. Photo: Anna Moneymaker via Getty Images

President Biden will announce new testing protocols for international travelers on Thursday and extend masking requirements through March as the U.S. prepares to fight the Omicron variant this winter, according to senior administration officials.

Driving the news: The U.S. will tighten pre-departure testing protocols starting early next week by requiring all inbound international travelers to take COVID-19 tests within one day of their departure rather than three.

49 mins ago - Health

America probably won't lead the effort to understand Omicron

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The race to figure out just how dangerous the Omicron variant is will likely be a global effort, but some experts are skeptical that the U.S. will play a dominant role.

Why it matters: The CDC has repeatedly come under fire for inadequate data collection throughout the pandemic — and figuring out how to respond to Omicron requires a lot of data that doesn't currently exist.

U.S. faces urgent anti-hacker crisis

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

The Biden administration is accelerating efforts to fill nearly 600,000 vacant cybersecurity positions in the public and private sectors bogging down efforts to protect digital infrastructure.

Why it matters: Following a deluge of ransomware attacks targeting critical government and corporate infrastructure this year, clogs in the talent pipeline are leaving federal, cash-strapped local governments and Big Business even more susceptible to hacking.

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