NEW YORK (AP) - The
nation’s top public health agency on Thursday revamped its list of which
Americans are at higher risk for severe COVID-19 illness, adding pregnant
women and removing age alone as a factor.
The Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention also changed the list of underlying
conditions that make someone more susceptible to suffering and death. Sickle
cell disease joined the list, for example. And the threshold for risky
levels of obesity was lowered.
The changes didn’t
include adding race as a risk factor for serious illness, despite
accumulating evidence that Black people, Hispanics and Native Americans have
higher rates of infection, hospitalization and death.
said the update was prompted by medical studies published since CDC first
started listing high-risk groups. They sought to publicize the information
before Independence Day weekend, when many people may be tempted to go out
“For those at
higher risk, we recommend limiting contact with others as much as possible,
or restricting contacts to a small number of people who are willing to take
measures to reduce the risk of (you) becoming infected,” said CDC Director
Dr. Robert Redfield.
The same advice
holds for people who live with or care for people at higher risk, Redfield
Previously, the CDC
said those at high risk of serious illness included people aged 65 years and
older; those who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility; and
people with serious heart conditions, obesity, diabetes, liver disease,
chronic kidney disease, chronic lung disease, and conditions that leave them
with weakened immune systems.
In the changes, CDC
created categories of people who are at high risk and people who might be at
Those who are at
high risk include people with chronic kidney disease, chronic inflammatory
lung disease, obesity, serious heart conditions, sickle cell disease, Type 2
diabetes, and weakened immune systems because of organ transplants. The
threshold for obesity concern was lowered from a body mass index of 40 down
The CDC said people
are at increasing risk as they get older, but it removed people 65 and older
as a high risk group.
The list of people
who might be at high risk includes pregnant women, smokers and those with
asthma, diseases that affect blood flow to the brain, cystic fibrosis, high
blood pressure, dementia, liver disease, scarred or damaged lungs, Type 1
diabetes, a rare blood disorder called thalassemia, and people who have
weakened immune systems due to HIV or other reasons.
joined the list on the same day a CDC report <