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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

Senate retirements could attract GOP troublemakers

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.). Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sen. Roy Blunt's retirement highlights the twin challenge facing Senate Republicans: finding good replacement candidates and avoiding a pathway for potential troublemakers to join their ranks.

Why it matters: While the midterm elections are supposed to be a boon to the party out of power, the recent run of retirements — which may not be over — is upending that assumption for the GOP in 2022.

Congressional diversity growing - slowly

Data: Brookings Institution and Pew Research Center; Note: No data on Native Americans in Congress before the 107th Congress; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

The number of non-white senators and House members in the 535-seat Congress has been growing steadily in the past several decades — but representation largely lags behind the overall U.S. population.

Why it matters: Non-whites find it harder to break into the power system because of structural barriers such as the need to quit a job to campaign full time for office, as Axios reported in its latest Hard Truths Deep Dive.

Staff for retiring Senate Republicans a K Street prize

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The retirements of high-profile Senate Republicans mean a lot of experienced staffers will soon be seeking new jobs, and Washington lobbying and public affairs firms are eyeing a potential glut of top-notch talent.

Why it matters: Roy Blunt is the fifth Republican dealmaker in the Senate to announce his retirement next year. Staffers left behind who can navigate the upper chamber of Congress will be gold for the city’s influence industry.

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