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High Prevalence of Americans Have Conditions Linked to Severe COVID-19

Median prevalence of any underlying medical condition 47.2 percent for residents in all 50 states, DC

Hospital patient

THURSDAY, July 23, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- The median prevalence of any underlying medical condition that increases the risk for severe COVID-19-associated illness is 47.2 percent among residents in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, according to research published in the July 24 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Hilda Razzaghi, Ph.D., from the CDC COVID-19 Response Team, and colleagues used self-reported data from the 2018 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System and U.S. Census population data to estimate the county-level prevalence of selected conditions associated with severe COVID-19 disease among U.S. adults. These conditions included chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, and obesity.

The researchers found that for residents among 3,142 counties in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, the median prevalence of any underlying condition was 47.2 percent; counties with the highest prevalence were mainly located in the Southeast and Appalachian region. Overall prevalence was higher in rural nonmetropolitan areas, while the estimated number of persons with any underlying medical condition was higher in population-dense metropolitan areas.

"These findings can be used by state and local decision makers to help identify areas at higher risk for severe COVID-19-associated illness because of underlying medical conditions and guide resource allocation and implementation of prevention and mitigation strategies," the authors write.

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