Even If You Have This Blood Type, You're Not Safe From COVID-19

New research shows that this blood type won't protect you from contracting coronavirus.

There are thousands of personal health factors that contribute to your risk of getting COVID-19, which is why the disease poses such a major threat. Pre-existing conditions, such as heart disease and high blood pressure, can put you in danger of coronavirus—as can your blood type. However, though early research claimed that people with type O blood tend to be safe from COVID-19 while those with type A are the most at risk, new reports show that might not be true.

Let's start from the beginning: According to a June 2020 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, people with type A blood have a 45 percent greater risk of contracting coronavirus, whereas people with type O blood were 65 percent less likely to become infected compared to other blood types.

Despite that research, however, the reality is quite different. If you have type O blood, you're far from immune to the virus. Thirty-six percent of the U.S. population has type A blood, while 48 percent has type O blood. According to the American Red Cross, type O blood is most common in Hispanic and African American groups (51 percent and 57 percent, respectively). Yet, Black communities have disproportionately high COVID-19 infection rates.

young black man looking out window wearing face mask
Shutterstock/Robin J Gentry

On June 25, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released data that showed that Black people are infected with coronavirus at a rate five times higher than white people. Meanwhile, Hispanic or Latino people are four times as likely as their white counterparts to become infected. They also have the largest hospitalization rates after American Indians and Alaskan Native people. When adjusted for age between 45 and 54, Black and Hispanic death rates are at least six times higher than those among white people, according to research by Brookings.

Counties with a greater number of Black residents make up over half of all coronavirus cases and nearly 60 percent of deaths, CNN reports—an overwhelming number, considering that Black people account for just 13.4 percent of the total U.S. population.

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"[Type] O shouldn't think they aren't going to get this disease," Sakthivel Vaiyapuri, MD, PhD, an associate professor in cardiovascular pharmacology at the University of Reading, told CNN. "They shouldn't be running around everywhere and not maintain social distance, nor should [type] A panic." And for more ways you could be impacted by coronavirus, check out If You Have This in Your Blood, You're Twice as Likely to Die From COVID.

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