If You Have This One Condition, the CDC Says You're Now High Risk for COVID

The CDC just updated their high-risk list to include sickle cell disease, which affects 100,000 Americans.

As our understanding of the coronavirus has evolved, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has continued to update its guidance and information on the virus. Most recently, the CDC updated its list of conditions that make someone high risk of severe illness from the coronavirus. Some conditions on the preexisting list were adjusted, but one new one was added entirely: sickle cell disease.

Sickle cell disease is a "group of disorders that affects hemoglobin, the molecule in red blood cells that delivers oxygen to cells throughout the body. People with this disorder have atypical hemoglobin molecules, which can distort red blood cells into a sickle, or crescent shape," according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

According to the CDC, sickle cell disease affects approximately 100,000 Americans. On top of that, "about one in 13 Black or African-American babies is born with sickle cell trait." With sickle cell disease being added to the CDC's list, we now know a significant number of Americans are at an increased risk of severe illness from the coronavirus.

If you have sickle cell disease, the CDC recommends avoiding possible triggers to prevent vaso-occlusive episodes, following their tips on staying healthy, and sticking to telemedicine visits to limit your exposure.

Older patient wearing a mask with nurse

According to a press release from the CDC, the updated list comes as a result of reviewing reports and data on coronavirus cases. "There was consistent evidence (from multiple small studies or a strong association from a large study) that [these] specific conditions increase a person's risk of severe COVID-19 illness," according to the CDC.

In addition to explicitly adding sickle cell disease, the CDC also adjusted conditions that were already on the list. The new list specifies that people with type 2 diabetes are high risk, while those with type 1 diabetes might be high risk.

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The CDC also adjusted its original assertion that those who are immunocompromised are at risk, adding a qualifier that those who are immunocompromised as a result of a "solid organ transplant" are at a high risk.

The original list also said that people with a body mass index (BMI) over 40 are at high risk, but the modified list specifies that it's now a BMI of 30 or higher. And for more updates from the CDC, check out This Many Americans May Have Had Coronavirus and Didn't Know It, Says CDC.

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