Mar 31, 2020 - Health

CDC: 6% U.S. patients with coronavirus had underlying health conditions

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.

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Why it matters: Some cities and states have reported the virus is killing black people at disproportionately high rates. There are gaps in the national picture of how many people of color are affected, since the data has not been a requirement for states to collect or disclose.