The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated its COVID-19 guidelines to adjust the ages and health problems that could make people more likely to have severe complications. The move comes amid the rising number of younger patients and new studies that show the effects of certain conditions.
CDC announced the changes on Thursday. It highlights that all ages could catch the coronavirus but effects of the infection may get worse as people get older.
“There’s not an exact cutoff of age at which people should or should not be concerned,” Jay Butler, the CDC’s deputy director of infectious diseases, said at a recent news briefing, as quoted by WebMD.
The agency removed the age category “65 and older” from its website and replaced it with the tab “People Who Need Extra Precautions.” That highlights the factors that put anyone at higher risk of COVID-19.
“We know that risk is a continuum,” CDC Director Robert Redfield said. “It’s not just risk to those ages 65 and older.”
But the update still shows the role that age plays amid the pandemic. CDC added information on how people become more likely to contract COVID-19 with advancing age.
The agency explained that people in their 50s are at a higher risk than people in their 40s. Those who are in their 60s and 70s have a significantly higher risk than the younger population.
Aside from age, the updated guidelines also include a new list of health conditions that make a person more likely to experience severe complications because of the coronavirus infection.
Conditions With Strong Evidence Of Elevated Risk:
- Chronic kidney disease
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Weaker immune system due to organ transplant
- Heart conditions like heart failure and coronary artery disease
- Sickle cell disease
- Type 2 diabetes
The CDC also listed other common conditions that may contribute to the severe outcome from COVID-19. It includes asthma, dementia, cerebrovascular diseases, cystic fibrosis, high blood pressure, liver disease, pulmonary fibrosis, type 1 diabetes and thalassemia.
The agency also added pregnancy to the list. The move comes after one study found it could put women at higher risk of severe coronavirus infections.
Researchers said pregnant women are more likely to require intensive care and breathing support from a ventilator. However, they are less likely to die from COVID-19.