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Who is at High Risk of Dying from Covid-19?

April 13, 2020 @ 6:06 pm
posted by Dr Ginther

Although most persons infected with Covid-19 recover, some do not.  Some groups of people are more at risk of dying from Covid-19 complications than others.  This should not surprise us.  The same people are at higher risk with all diseases and injuries.  Those with pre-existing chronic diseases.

Who are the usual suspects?  The elderly, especially male. Diabetics, especially those poorly controlled or obese.  Those with heart diseases and high blood pressure.  People with lung problems like COPD, asthma, or emphysema, especially those already requiring oxygen and/or inhalers.  Smokers and vapers.

These are the same individuals who disproportionately die each year from influenza – a distant cousin of corona-viruses.  And even from the common corona-viruses, the common cold.  The difference is that Covid-19 is a strain which is completely new to humans and very contagious.  Nobody was immune from a previous year.

We do not yet have a vaccine for Covid-19, although progress is much faster than in the past.  With luck we may have something by fall.  Normally a vaccine is a  1-2 years project.

Having a vaccine will be great, but taking it will be crucial even though vaccines are not perfect.  Nearly every year the majority of people who die of influenza complications are high risk individuals who did not get the vaccine, for whatever reason.

Get your pre-existing chronic medical conditions under control.  Being as healthy as possible could save your life.

Jay Ginther, MD

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