Low-income groups, people of color at higher risk of serious COVID-19 illness

People of color and those from low-income households face a higher risk of developing a severe case of COVID-19 if infected with the new coronavirus, a Kaiser Family Foundation report shows.

The report builds on an earlier analysis of data from the CDC's 2018 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, which estimated the total number of adults nationwide who have a higher risk of serious illness if they are infected with coronavirus.

For the current report, Kaiser broke the data down by race/ethnicity and household income. They defined adults at higher risk of serious COVID-19 illness as those between the ages of 18 and 64 with heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, uncontrolled asthma, diabetes or a body mass index greater than 40, all risk factors identified by the CDC.

They found 34 percent of American Indian/Alaska native adults and 27 percent of black adults are at higher risk of serious COVID-19 illness, compared to 21 percent of their white counterparts. Twenty percent of Hispanic adults were also at higher risk for the disease.

The report also shows 35 percent of U.S. adults with household incomes below $15,000 are at higher risk of serious illness if infected with coronavirus, compared to about 16 percent of adults with household incomes greater than $50,000.

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