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27 factors that make you vulnerable to COVID-19

  • Food-service workers: COVID-19 connection

    - Total food-service workers: 13.5 million (4.2% of U.S. population)

    Food-service workers make up 4.2% of the United States population and are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, due to the fact that they are often “essential” workers and on the front lines. In addition, because in some places they tend to have lower income and/or are from immigrant communities, they live further from the city center, meaning more time on public transit and more vulnerability. They are also less able to take time off, even if they feel sick.

  • Food service workers: Demographics

    States with the largest populations:

    #1. District of Columbia: 8.8% of state population (103.2% above national average)

    #2. Nevada: 6.5% (49.3% above national average)

    #3. Hawaii: 6.0% (38.6% above national average)

    #4. Montana: 5.0% (14.3% above national average)

    #5. South Dakota: 4.8% (11.1% above national average)

    In Washington D.C., which has the highest proportion of food-service workers in the country, 103.2% above the national average, that group is notable for testing positive for COVID-19. According to the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington, which has over 1,000 food-service members in the Washington, D.C. area, there are currently no protocols for what restaurants should do when an employee gets sick.

  • Population in areas with heavy air pollution: COVID-19 connection

    - Total population in areas with heavy air pollution: 186.8 million (57.9% of U.S. population)

    A Harvard study has shown that increased air pollution is associated with an increase in COVID-19 deaths. Over half of the United States population, 57.9%, live in areas with heavy air pollution. This disproportionately impacts people of color, especially African Americans, who tend to live in places with more air pollution due to generations of redlining and housing segregation.

  • Population in areas with heavy air pollution: Demographics

    States with the largest populations:

    #1. District of Columbia: 100.0% of state population (630.3% above national average)

    #2. Georgia: 59.2% (332.5% above national average)

    #3. Delaware: 58.5% (327.0% above national average)

    #4. Indiana: 53.5% (290.8% above national average)

    #5. Illinois: 48.0% (250.6% above national average)

    Unlike for other risk factors, data for air pollution is shown using county-level data and based on the 16-year average of PM2.5 pollution in each county. Gray areas on the map do not have available data. This data shows that 100% of Washington D.C.’s population lives in areas with heavy air pollution, which is unsurprising as the entire district is a city. This is especially important because 46.9% of its population is African American or Black. Since the COVID-19 shutdown, Washington D.C.’s air pollution has gone down; it currently has the cleanest air it’s had in the last 25 years.

  • Major cardiovascular disease diagnosis: COVID-19 connection

    - Total major cardiovascular disease diagnosis: 27.2 million (8.4% of U.S. population)

    Major cardiovascular disease is a risk factor for COVID-19 complications and death. In one case study of 21 COVID-19 patients, congestive heart failure was the second most common comorbidity baseline with 42.9%.

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  • Major cardiovascular disease diagnosis: Demographics

    States with the largest populations:

    #1. West Virginia: 14.2% of state population (64.6% above national average)

    #2. Arkansas: 12.6% (46.1% above national average)

    #3. Kentucky: 12.6% (46.1% above national average)

    #4. Alabama: 12.1% (40.3% above national average)

    #5. Tennessee: 11.5% (33.3% above national average)

    The states with the highest rates of major cardiovascular disease are all located in the South. According to a 2016 CDC report, heart disease kills more Southerners than any other disease. This is not just a geographic problem but also a racial one: In 2017, Black and African American people were 20% more likely to die from heart disease than people who identify as white.

  • Hypertension diagnosis: COVID-19 connection

    - Total hypertension diagnosis: 104.7 million (32.4% of U.S. population)

    According to the CDC, hypertension could also increase a person’s risk of COVID-19 complications. Hypertension is also known as high blood pressure and is present in nearly one-third of the United States population. However, while the CDC highlights hypertension as a possible risk factor, there is no current scientific confirmation to support the theory that people with hypertension will experience worse symptoms if they contract COVID-19.

  • Hypertension diagnosis: Demographics

    States with the largest populations:

    #1. West Virginia: 43.5% of state population (32.9% above national average)

    #2. Alabama: 41.9% (28.0% above national average)

    #3. Arkansas: 41.3% (26.1% above national average)

    #4. Mississippi: 40.8% (24.6% above national average)

    #5. Kentucky: 39.4% (20.3% above national average)

    The states with the highest rates of hypertension are almost the same as the states with the highest rates of heart disease, and these five are also all located in the South. Hypertension is also more common among older people, who are already at higher risk for COVID-19 complications.

  • Diabetes diagnosis: COVID-19 connection

    - Total diabetes diagnosis: 36.7 million (11.4% of U.S. population)

    The CDC has warned about the risk that COVID-19 poses to people with diabetes, and a new study seems to further confirm that fact. A study from the journal Diabetologia found that of 1,317 COVID-19 patients with diabetes who were hospitalized in France, one in 10 had died by the end of the first week.

  • Diabetes diagnosis: Demographics

    States with the largest populations:

    #1. West Virginia: 16.2% of state population (45.8% above national average)

    #2. Alabama: 14.5% (30.5% above national average)

    #3. Mississippi: 14.3% (28.7% above national average)

    #4. Louisiana: 14.1% (26.9% above national average)

    #5. Arkansas: 13.9% (25.1% above national average)

    In the United States, the states with the highest rates of diabetes are located in the South, with West Virginia as the state with the highest rate: 16.2% of its population. West Virginia’s health care system has been decimated over the last few years, so it was already unprepared for a pandemic, even without the added issue of diabetes.

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