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Who Is at High Risk of Contracting the New Virus?

Daniel Marcus';

By Daniel Marcus

Posted on April 7th, 2020 in News

COVID-19Although everyone is at risk of contracting the novel coronavirus if they fail to properly follow the adequate protective measures, there are certain groups of people who have a greater chance of becoming infected than the rest of the population. Undoubtedly, the coronavirus epidemic is real and the virus is rapidly spreading throughout the world.

Thereby, our medical team strongly advises you to conform to the preventive measures which are meant to reduce the number of new cases throughout the country, as the situation is dire in the United States at the moment, with over 434,000 diagnosed individuals and nearly 15,000 deaths.

The elderly are particularly vulnerable when it comes to contracting the new virus, as their immune system may be weaker and they are also more likely to suffer from underlying diseases such as diabetes and heart conditions. People over the age of 60 have a greater chance of infection with coronavirus, while 15% of those over the age of 80 may lose their lives if they contract the virus. According to statistics, 4 out of 5 elderly people have one or multiple underlying health conditions, which places this demographic at high risk of contracting the new virus, since preexisting health problems damage the immune system to a significant extent. Furthermore, even if no underlying condition is present, older people are still more susceptible to become infected with coronavirus, since as we age, our immune system gradually weakens.

People at High Risk of Contracting the New Virus

Cancer patients are also at high risk of contracting the new virus. However, not all cancer patients are prone to becoming infected with the coronavirus. The immune system also plays a crucial role in this case, as only cancer patients with a poor immune system are vulnerable. What weakens the immune system of the individuals who struggle with cancer is the treatment they receive for their disease, namely chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and bone marrow transplants. Moreover, people who suffer from cancers that affect the blood and the lymph nodes, such as leukemia and lymphoma, also have a greater chance of contracting the new virus. On the other hand, cancer patients who only undergo immunotherapy and targeted therapy, which do not affect the immune system, are safe if they follow the appropriate protective measures.

People who have underlying respiratory infections or diseases are at increased risk of infection with the coronavirus as well. Because the new virus targets mainly the respiratory system, particularly the airways and the lungs, individuals who have these organs compromised are more prone to contracting the coronavirus and also to develop serious health complications, such as severe muscle pain, heart attack, irregular heart rate, acute respiratory distress syndrome or cardiovascular shock. 

Smokers are another group that may be affected by the new coronavirus, as their lungs are likely damaged. According to reports from China, people who smoke tobacco represent a significant portion of the population infected with the coronavirus. Thereby, if you are a smoker, you are more likely to contract the new virus, as well as to develop chronic respiratory diseases as a consequence of your unhealthy habit.

Another demographic at great risk is people who suffer from heart diseases such as coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, pulmonary stenosis, and mitral regurgitation. This is because the new virus also targets the heart, which, in the absence of enough oxygen, sturggles to pump blood throughout the body and is thereby considerably affected. As a consequence, people who already have a type of heart disease are more susceptible to infection with coronavirus. Medical studies revealed that the new virus may invade heart cells or that the body may awaken a large number of immune cells, attempting to eliminate the coronavirus. Researchers are not currently sure which may be the cause, but there is no doubt that the new virus can affect the heart to a tremendous extent. Additionally, 1 in 5 people who become infected with coronavirus will suffer heart damage, which will worsen any underlying heart condition.

Finally, people who have chronic kidney disease and undergo dialysis are more likely to contract the coronavirus. There are over 650,000 people who struggle with kidney disease throughout the country, out of which 460,000 need to regularly undergo dialysis. If a person with chronic kidney disease becomes infected with the new virus, they are very susceptible to develop acute renal impairment. The reason why this demographic is at high risk of contracting the virus also resides with the immune system, as the majority of people with chronic kidney disease have a poor immune system as a result of their condition.

Other groups that are at high risk of contracting the new virus include people who struggle with obesity, HIV or AIDS, liver disease and diabetes. To avoid infection with coronavirus, we strongly advise you to follow the adequate protective measures, such as avoiding leaving your house unless for essential reasons, washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, wearing a face mask when outside, refraining from touching your eyes, nose, and mouth if you have not washed your hands properly before and maintaining social distance of at least 6 feet from those around you. If you experience symptoms such as fever, shortness of breath, a persisting cough, a sore throat, a runny nose, and fatigue, please seek medical attention immediately.