COVID-19 risk factors
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Front-line health-care workers are at increased risk of having a positive Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) test. Similar to all viral illnesses, exposure is considered the most significant risk factor for infection with SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19. Racial and ethnic minority groups are at increased risk of the infection. The most common risk factors associated with a severe form of the disease include elderly (those aged 60+), male sex, cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, chronic kidney disease, COPD, hypertension, Cancer, Solid organ transplantation, Sickle cell disease, and Obesity (BMI > 30).
A recent study showed that front-line health-care workers were at increased risk of having a positive COVID-19 test (adjusted HR 3·40, 95% CI 3·37–3·43). Adequacy of PPE, clinical setting, and ethnic background were important factors for a higher positive test result in this group.
Risk Factors Associated with Increased Risk of Infection
Similar to all viral illnesses, exposure is considered the most significant risk factor for infection with Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). According to CDC, racial and ethnic minority groups are at increased risk of getting sick and dying from COVID-19 
- Discrimination: Unfortunately, discrimination exists in systems meant to protect well-being or health. Examples of such systems include health care, housing, education, criminal justice, and finance.
- Healthcare access and utilization: People from some racial and ethnic minority groups are more likely to be uninsured than non-Hispanic whites.
- Occupation: People from some racial and ethnic minority groups are disproportionately represented in essential work settings such as healthcare facilities, farms, factories, grocery stores, and public transportation. Chances to be exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
- Educational, income, and wealth gaps: People with limited job options likely have less flexibility to leave jobs that may put them at a higher risk of exposure. They often cannot afford to miss work, even if they’re sick.
- Housing: Some people from racial and ethnic minority groups live in crowded conditions that make it more challenging to follow prevention strategies.
Risk Factors Associated with Increased Risk of Mortality and Severity of the Disease
- Individuals at risk for the severe form of the disease include:
- Cardiovascular disease patients
- Chronic respiratory disease patients
- Hypertensive patients
- Cancer patients
- Individuals in long term care facilities
- Elderly (those aged 60+)
- In the UK 90% of deaths were reported in people over 60
- Individuals ≥80 years had more than 20-fold increased risk of death compared to the 50-59 year olds age group.
- People from black and minority ethnic (BME) groups 
- According to a survey by The Johns Hopkins University and American Community, infection rate was more than 3-fold higher in predominantly black counties in the US compared to the predominantly white counties and the death rate for predominantly black counties was 6-fold higher. Although further studies are needed to understand the race disparity, this result indicates that minorities such as black communities are in risk of COVID-19 infection more frequently and dying disproportionately. There could be multiple barriers in social distancing in these communities that result in higher infection and death rates.
- Obese Patients (hazard ratios 1.19-1.39 after age and sex correction)
- Vitamin D deficient individuals
- CDC has published the following conditions listed in the table below as the risk factors for a severe COVID-19. These conditions are categorized into the following groups based on the current evidence:
- Strongest and most consistent evidence: define as consistent evidence from multiple small studies or a strong association from a large study are categorized. They increase the severity of COVID-19 regardless of the individual's age
- Mixed evidence: Defined as multiple studies that reached different conclusions about the risk associated with a condition
- Limited evidence: Defined as consistent evidence from a small number of studies. Limited evidence: Defined as consistent evidence from a small number of studies.
|Level of Evidence||Condition|
|Strongest and Most Consistent Evidence|
This list is a living document that will be periodically updated, and it could rapidly change as the science evolves.
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