CDC Updates Underlying Medical Conditions Associated with Higher Risk for Severe COVID-19: Information for Healthcare Professionals

Mary Madison, RN, RAC-CT, CDP
Clinical Consultant – Briggs Healthcare

CDC updated the Underlying Medical Conditions Associated with Higher Risk for Severe COVID-19: Information for HC Professionals website on February 15, 2022.

“This webpage provides an evidence-based resource for healthcare professionals caring for patients with underlying medical conditions who are at higher risk of developing severe outcomes of COVID-19. Severe outcomes of COVID-19 are defined as hospitalization, admission to the intensive care unit (ICU), intubation or mechanical ventilation, or death.

This page summarizes data from published reports, scientific articles in press, unreviewed pre-prints, and internal data that were included in a literature review conducted by subject matter experts as of October 2021. The information reflects current evidence regarding underlying medical conditions and is intended to help healthcare professionals make informed decisions about patient care and increasing the awareness of risk among their patients.

We continue to learn more about the risk factors for severe COVID-19 outcomes. Age is the strongest risk factor for severe COVID-19 outcomes. Approximately 54.1 million people aged 65 years or older reside in the United States; in 2020, this age group accounted for 81% of U.S. COVID-19 related deaths. As of February 7, 2022 (CDC COVID Data Tracker), the number of deaths in this group was more than 97 times the number of deaths in those aged 18–29.(1, 2) In 2020, residents of long-term care facilities made up less than 1% of the U.S. population but accounted for more than 35% of all COVID-19 deaths.(3-7) Additionally, people ages 18 years and older with certain underlying medical conditions are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.(8)

Studies have shown that COVID-19 does not affect all population groups equally. The risk of severe COVID-19 increases as the number of underlying medical conditions increases in a person.(9–11) People with disabilities are more likely than people without disabilities to have chronic health conditions, live in congregate settings, and face more barriers to health care.(12-14) Studies have shown that some people with certain disabilities are more likely to get COVID-19 and have worse outcomes.(15-17) Some chronic medical conditions occur more frequently or at a younger age among people from  racial or ethnic minority groups. Moreover, data have also shown that compared to non-Hispanic White people, people from racial and ethnic minority groups are more likely to die from COVID-19 at younger ages.(18) Based on mortality data from CDC’s National Vital Statistics System (NVSS), the total number of excess deaths in the US since February 1, 2020 through data available on February 2, 2022 is estimated at 1,006,393.(20) In 2020, the largest percentage increases in death occurred among adults aged 25–44 years and among Hispanic or Latino people.(19)

Additionally, we are still learning about how conditions that affect the environments where people live, learn, and work can influence the risk for infection and severe COVID-19 outcomes. These social determinants of health include neighborhood and physical environment, housing, occupation, education, food security, access to health care, and economic stability.”

This is one of the charts found on that website:

There’s a great deal of valuable information for HC professionals on this page. You’ll want to bookmark this site.