92M Americans at risk of severe COVID-19 illness: 4 things to know

More than 90 million Americans are at risk of severe illness if they contract COVID-19 due to their age or underlying health issues, according to an updated analysis from Kaiser Family Foundation.

KFF first published the analysis March 13, which uses data from the CDC's 2018 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System to estimate the total number of adults in the U.S. and their relative risk of serious illness by state. The update reflects a revised definition of who is at risk for severe COVID-19 illness, which now includes:

  • Adults age 65 or older (formerly 60 and over) 
  • Younger adults with heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, uncontrolled asthma, diabetes or a body mass index over 40

The new analysis excludes cancer patients to avoid overestimating the number of people at risk for severe illness, since the CDC's data includes anyone who's ever had cancer, not those who are currently immunocompromised.

Four things to know:

1. About 37.6 percent of all adults, or 92.6 million people, are at higher risk of developing a serious illness if they contract COVID-19.

2. Of this group, 55.2 percent are 65 or older. The remainder are adults ages 18-64 with underlying medical conditions.

3. About 5.1 million adults at higher risk for severe illness are uninsured.

4. Utah had the lowest proportion of at-risk adults at 30 percent, while West Virginia had the highest at 49.3 percent. 

To view the full analysis, click here.

More articles on public health:

COVID-19 resurgence likely next winter, Cleveland Clinic pathologist says
US deaths jump 1K in 1 day; 2K+ ventilators in stockpile unavailable — 8 COVID-19 updates
New York City's public health system to convert all facilities into ICUs + 20 other updates from the 6 hardest hit states


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