The CDC has broadened its guidance and updated its risk factors for COVID-19.  Gone is the “65 and older” age category.  Instead, the CDC is focusing on “People Who Need to Take Extra Precautions”. 

Well the CDC is recognizing that we’re in a different situation now.  Back in March, the virus was really hitting older adults.  Whereas now, there are a lot more younger people getting sick.  And while hospitalizations and deaths for young folks are not as high, we can’t ignore the fact that they do happen.  So after analyzing cases across the U.S., the CDC is now focusing on two distinct categories when it comes to those who are most risk of developing severe disease from COVID-19.  The first one is called  “Older Adults”.  And the second one is called “People with Medical Conditions”.  And that second one is what young folks really need to pay attention to.  Because their risk is definitely elevated if they have any of the listed health conditions.

Let’s talk about those medical conditions, the CDC groups them into two categories – what they are.  

The first category includes conditions that put people at an increased risk of severe illness and they are:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Obesity with a body mass index of 30 or higher
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • COPD or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Any immuno-suppressing condition or weakened immune system and
  • Serious heart conditions like coronary artery disease or heart failure

Now, the second category relates to conditions that ‘might’ put you at an increased risk and they include:

  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Pregnancy
  • High blood pressure
  • Smoking
  • Moderate-to-severe asthma
  • Liver disease and
  • Neurologic conditions like dementia

Let’s go back to the “65 and older” age category – sounds like they just replaced that with “older adults” – what was the purpose of that?

It looks to me like the CDC is no longer drawing a line in regards to age.  Instead, they’re pointing out that as you get older, your risk goes up.  So for example, people in their 50’s are at higher risk than those in their 40’s.  And people in their 60’s and 70’s are at higher risk than those in their 50’s.  And those who are 85 and older, well they have the greatest risk for developing severe disease from Covid-19.  So older folks still need to be very concerned about COVID-19.  However, no matter how old you are, you really need to keep in mind those medical conditions I listed that up your odds of getting very sick.  And I feel that our younger generation needs to be a lot more concerned about this.  Even if you don’t have any health conditions, you can still pass the virus on to others who may have them.  So please, reduce your risk by social distancing, wearing a mask, disinfecting and washing your hands often.