The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to refine its guidance on which patients are most likely to experience severe disease when infected with COVID-19—with some of their statements reflecting a change from earlier advice. Early on in the pandemic, the CDC suggested that hypertension would put infected patients at higher risk than those without hypertension; now, however, the agency now says hypertension does not confer significant additional risk. Obesity, however, is associated with greater risk as an underlying condition than previously reported. The connection between obesity and more severe COVID-19 outcomes is most pronounced among individuals with a BMI over 40, although a BMI over 30 also increases risk. The CDC also expanded its list of underlying conditions associated with more severe COVID-19 outcomes to include sickle cell disease and pregnancy. Heart disease and type 2 diabetes remain on the list, as well. Use this information to counsel patients who are at highest risk, both to encourage compliance with medication and lifestyle changes related to their condition, but also to stress the importance of maintaining safety measures designed to lower risk of COVID-19 infection.
CDC Update: Obesity Is High Risk with COVID-19—but Hypertension Is Lower Risk Than First Thought