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New CDC document detailing risk factors for severe COVID-19: Little that is new. Why release this document now? Because there’s nothing new to say?


Coronavirus studies by Engin Akyurt via

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) today (June 25) published a new document listing risk factors for severe COVID-19 (the disease caused by the virus SARS-COV-2) which separates risky conditions into two categories: those that definitely cause increased risk and those which maybe increase risk.

The following conditions definitely increase one’s risk for severe COVID-19, regardless of age: (they include links to CDC’s information pages on each condition)

The CDC describes children who are “medically complex” as having increased risk, as well as those with congenital heart disease, neurologic, metabolic, or genetic conditions.

The second list includes conditions that might increase one’s risk:

The two lists appear to differ from previous information in that the first list includes conditions which definitely increase one’s risk of severe COVID-19 and the second list includes conditions with less definite information about increased risk.  Regardless of one’s medical conditions, it appears that increasing age increases one’s risk of severe illness in a continuous fashion, that is, there is no definite cut-off below which one is at lower risk.

The rest of the document includes standard information about reducing one’s risk of contracting an infection with the virus: wearing a face mask, washing hands frequently, avoiding touching objects that may be contaminated, and especially avoiding crowds and people you don’t know.  There is also advice about low- and high-risk public gatherings, staying healthy generally, getting one’s vaccines including flu vaccines, and following treatment plans for those conditions you already have.

There is a breakdown of specific treatment plans for each chronic medical condition that reiterates standard medical advice for each condition: have a 30-day supply of medication on hand, follow your doctor’s advice, if you don’t have a healthcare provider, get one, quit smoking, and so on.  There are no surprises here.

This document appears to be updated in the sense that it separates conditions that definitely increase risks for severe illness from conditions that have less definite risks.  I’m not sure what else is has to offer to anyone other than the most naive reader.  Perhaps it was released today because there is little else to say that hasn’t already been said.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Angel Cantwell permalink
    2020-06-25 4:06 PM

    I just wanted to drop a comment thanking you for your blog. I’m pretty sure I came across your other ‘work’ in the comment section of Retraction Watch and somewhere along the line I subscribed to your newsletter. I appreciate the work you put in and I’ve found it a very helpful way to get news from the other side of things (I’m a lab rat whose work has recently shifted to SARS-CoV-2 work recently).

    Thanks a bunch


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