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27 factors that make you vulnerable to COVID-19

  • Asthma diagnosis: COVID-19 connection

    - Total asthma diagnosis: 29.8 million (9.2% of U.S. population)

    While the CDC lists asthma as a risk factor for COVID-19 complications, early data has shown that asthma does not increase the likelihood of COVID-19 complications. This data, which came from New York, found that of known COVID-19 deaths, only 5% were people who were known to have asthma.

  • Asthma diagnosis: Demographics

    States with the largest populations:

    #1. Maine: 12.3% of state population (27.2% above national average)

    #2. West Virginia: 12.3% (27.2% above national average)

    #3. Vermont: 12.0% (24.1% above national average)

    #4. Rhode Island: 11.9% (23.0% above national average)

    #5. New Hampshire: 11.8% (22.0% above national average)

    Four of the five states with the highest rates of asthma are located in New England. West Virginia also has high rates of asthma, along with many other chronic illnesses.

  • Smokers: COVID-19 connection

    - Total smokers: 50.1 million (15.5% of U.S. population)

    The risk that smoking poses to people regarding COVID-19 is complicated and still unsettled. One meta-analysis of studies that comprised 11,590 COVID-19 patients found that the risk of disease progression among those who smoked was nearly double that of nonsmokers. It also found that when the disease gets worse, current or former smokers experienced more acute conditions and death. However, a French study found that smokers might be less likely to fall ill with COVID-19 in the first place.

  • Smokers: Demographics

    States with the largest populations:

    #1. West Virginia: 25.2% of state population (51.9% above national average)

    #2. Kentucky: 23.4% (41.0% above national average)

    #3. Arkansas: 22.7% (36.8% above national average)

    #4. Indiana: 21.1% (27.2% above national average)

    #5. Tennessee: 20.7% (24.8% above national average)

    In line with the health conditions highlighted on the previous pages, states like West Virginia, Kentucky, and Arkansas have the nation’s highest rates of smokers. This is perhaps unsurprising, as smoking can increase the likelihood of developing hypertension and heart disease.

  • Chronic lung disease diagnosis: COVID-19 connection

    - Total chronic lung disease diagnosis: 22.1 million (6.9% of U.S. population)

    As COVID-19 is a disease that heavily impacts the lungs, chronic lung disease is thought to be a risk factor for complications. So far, there have been no definitive studies, but groups like the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation recommends that people with cystic fibrosis consider themselves at risk and stay home.

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  • Chronic lung disease diagnosis: Demographics

    States with the largest populations:

    #1. West Virginia: 15.3% of state population (116.3% above national average)

    #2. Kentucky: 12.1% (71.1% above national average)

    #3. Tennessee: 10.6% (49.9% above national average)

    #4. Alabama: 10.3% (45.6% above national average)

    #5. Louisiana: 9.9% (40.0% above national average)

    Once again, many of the same Southern states have the highest rates of chronic lung disease. In addition, it is the people with the lowest incomes in cities across the entire country who have higher rates of illnesses such as chronic pulmonary disease.

  • Obese population: COVID-19 connection

    - Total obese population: 99.9 million (30.9% of U.S. population)

    Obesity is another condition linked to worse outcomes when it comes to COVID-19. In addition, while COVID-19 has had the worst impacts on older populations, young adults with obesity are more likely to be hospitalized if they have COVID-19, even if they have no other preexisting health conditions.

  • Obese population: Demographics

    States with the largest populations:

    #1. Mississippi: 39.5% of state population (26.2% above national average)

    #2. West Virginia: 39.5% (26.2% above national average)

    #3. Arkansas: 37.1% (18.5% above national average)

    #4. Louisiana: 36.8% (17.6% above national average)

    #5. Kentucky: 36.6% (16.9% above national average)

    The five states with the highest rate of obesity in the United States are all located in the South, with Mississippi and West Virginia tied for having the largest percentage of people with obesity in their states. Data from April from the Mississippi Department of Health showed that obesity was present in 67.8% of confirmed COVID-19 deaths and that nearly half of those deaths comprised African Americans.

  • Chronic kidney disease diagnosis: COVID-19 connection

    - Total chronic kidney disease diagnosis: 10.0 million (3.1% of U.S. population)

    Chronic kidney disease puts people at higher risk of getting COVID-19 and experiencing complications. This is especially true for people on dialysis, who might have weaker immune systems, or those with a kidney transplant, who need to take anti-rejection medicines that weaken the immune system.

  • Chronic kidney disease diagnosis: Demographics

    States with the largest populations:

    #1. West Virginia: 4.6% of state population (53.1% above national average)

    #2. Kentucky: 4.2% (39.8% above national average)

    #3. Alabama: 4.0% (33.2% above national average)

    #3. Nevada: 4.0% (33.2% above national average)

    #5. Tennessee: 3.9% (29.8% above national average)

    Four of the five states with the highest rates of chronic kidney disease are in the South. West Virginia once again has the highest rate of any state, with 53.1% above the national average. West Virginia’s high rate of multiple chronic illnesses makes it especially vulnerable overall for adverse COVID-19 outcomes.

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