Although COVID-19 is benign in 80% of cases, there are also severe forms of the infection which can cause serious problems for people considered to be fragile. Seniors are still at the top of the list of people who are the most at risk. As of now, 57% of patients admitted to intensive care units because of the Sars CoV-2 coronavirus are over 65 years of age.
In 63% of cases, patients regardless of age were also affected by comorbidities, i.e. they suffered from other conditions that made them more susceptible to the disease. Thus, kidney, heart, or immune insufficiency (untreated HIV, for example), high blood pressure, vascular problems, severe asthma, diabetes, and cancer may all contribute to the development of severe symptoms of COVID-19.
Obesity a risk factor
Overweight or obese people with a body mass index (BMI) greater than 25 are also more vulnerable. First of all, this is because being overweight weakens the immune system. The immune system is thus more vulnerable to infections... and therefore to the coronavirus. Obesity can also aggravate other underlying issues such as cardiovascular disorders or diabetes, as well as respiratory problems that can increase the risk of suffering respiratory distress in case of infection.
According to Matthieu Schmidt, a nurse in the ICU at the Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital in Paris interviewed by French newspaper Le Monde, 83% of people affected and admitted to intensive care units are overweight or obese. Yazdan Yazdanpanah, head of the infectious diseases department at Bichat Hospital in Paris, told Le Figaro:
More than 80% of people under 50 years old who are in intensive care because of COVID-19 are overweight or obese.
Protecting your lungs
Various government organisations have also made it clear that smoking can be responsible for a cough that favours the transmission of the virus, even in healthy people. They have also stated that 'regular consumption of inhaled products (tobacco, cannabis, cocaine, crack cocaine, etc.) increases the risk of infection and of severe forms of the virus.' In recent weeks, several different groups have warned about the impact smoking can have on people infected with COVID-19.
Be vigilant and be sure to look out for any sign of symptoms. #StayHome.