Who Is High Risk for COVID-19?

Facts and information about the coronavirus pandemic are constantly changing. Visit the CDC site for the most up-to-date information during the COVID-19 outbreak.

COVID-19 can affect anyone, but some people are at a higher risk for complications from the disease than others. It’s important to understand your risk for COVID-19 because people at an increased risk for severe illness must take extra precautions to stay healthy and safe.

The following groups of people are at a higher risk for complications from COVID-19 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

People at a higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19

You can get sick with COVID-19 at any age, but older adults are more likely to suffer severe illness from coronavirus.

  • Adults over 65 years of age are at an increased risk for severe illness.
  • People living in nursing homes or long-term care facilities are at a higher risk for complications.

Age isn’t the only factor that can cause severe illness from COVID-19. You are at a higher risk for complications if you have:

  • chronic lung disease
  • moderate to severe asthma
  • liver disease
  • chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis
  • diabetes
  • severe obesity (a BMI of 40 or higher)
  • serious heart conditions

People who are immunocompromised, or people with weakened immune systems, are also at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19:

  • patients undergoing treatments for cancer
  • smokers
  • bone marrow or organ transplant patients
  • people with immune deficiencies such as HIV or AIDS
  • prolonged use of corticosteroids and other immune weakening medications

You are at an even higher risk for complications if you have an underlying medical condition that is not properly managed or controlled.

People at an increased risk — or those who care for people who are high risk — should take extra precautions to stay safe from COVID-19.

How to protect yourself if you are at a higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19

Stay home if possible.

Reducing your exposure to the virus is the best way to decrease your risk of getting sick with COVID-19. There are many ways to perform essential errands without leaving your home or coming close contact with others.

Wash your hands often.

Use soap and water to wash your hands for 20 seconds. It’s especially important to wash your hands when returning home, or after touching frequently touched surfaces.

Use hand sanitizer (containing 60% alcohol) if in public when soap and water aren’t available.

Avoid close contact with others.

The primary way that COVID-19 is spread is through close contact. Keep six feet of distance between yourself and others while in public.

Wear a face mask while in public.

This is especially important when you cannot maintain six feet of physical separation. Wearing a reusable cloth face covering is an easy way to protect the health of your community.

Clean and disinfect surfaces.

Regularly clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces. This includes things like doorknobs, light switches, countertops, and mobile devices like phones and tablets.

Public health is up to all of us.

It’s important to practice social distancing and proper hygiene even if you aren’t considered high risk for COVID-19; this helps prevent the spread of coronavirus and it keeps you, your family, and your community safe.

Contact your doctor if you develop symptoms or you think you’ve come in contact with someone who has COVID-19. Call ahead instead of visiting a clinic in-person. Your doctor will provide further instructions about a TeleVisit, or physical visit.