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Who Is Most Likely to Die From COVID, According to CDC

Older people, men, minorities and those with preexisting health conditions have the most risk.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek
Infected patient in quarantine lying in bed in hospital

Since the first cases of COVID-19 were detected in Wuhan, China, in late December, medical experts have been attempting to decode the highly infectious and potentially deadly virus. One of the most curious aspects: it has the ability to completely ravage the bodies of some individuals, while others who are infected experience no symptoms at all.

Every week The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention collects comprehensive data detailing exactly who is getting the virus—as well as who is most likely to die from it. Read on, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.


Who is Dying From COVID-19?

Two professional doctors in blue medical uniform standing in front of each other in hospital corridor and looking thoughtful

In summary, older people, men, minorities and those with preexisting health conditions are the most likely to die from COVID-19, according to the CDC. 

In total, since January 21 (when the first U.S. case was confirmed) there have been 19,232,843 COVID-19 cases (176,974 new cases reported just the day before December 30th, when last we looked at the data) and 334,029 related deaths domestically (of which 1,783 were reported the day before).


Older People

Sick elderly woman of COVID-19 lies in bed at home wearing medical mask

"Surveillance at all levels of government, and its continued modernization, is critical for monitoring COVID-19 trends and identifying groups at risk for infection and severe outcomes," the CDC explains. "These findings highlight the continued need for community mitigation strategies, especially for vulnerable populations, to slow COVID-19 transmission."

Even if people over 65+ count for only 14% of reported COVID cases, they count for a staggering 81% of COVID deaths. In comparison, young people between ages 18 and 29 count for a notable 23%—almost a quarter of cases—but only 0.5% deaths. In light of this data, the CDC's dramatic warning against all Thanksgiving travel could be seen as an attempt to protect the most vulnerable group.


People in Middle Age

Man in a face mask sits on a bench and looks at the street

Age was obviously a factor as well, with a higher incidence for people over 80 and the lowest being the age group of 17 and below. However, the death rate among people in the group of adults aged 50-64 is alarmingly high at 14% (34,130 deaths). 

RELATED: Dr. Fauci Says Most People Did This Before Catching COVID



Sick man lying on sofa checking his temperature at home in the living room

It has been widely reported that COVID-19 disproportionally impacts women. On top of that, the CDC reports that women are slightly more likely to get infected with COVID-19 with a rate of 52.2%. But it's men who were more prone to die in the effect of COVID-19 infection (53.8% respectively, of 46.2% women). 



Senior old woman wearing surgical mask for protect from virus Covid-19

Race and ethnicity was also a major factor, with minorities being impacted by the pandemic at an alarming rate. According to CDC data, 17% of people who died of COVID-19 were Black and 13.8% Hispanic, 4.2% Asian, 1% American Indian or Alaska Native, 0.2% Native Hawaiian, and 4% of other minorities.

"With health disparities, we have a situation among minority populations, particularly African American and Latino, because they are suffering more than three times as many deaths," Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert and director of the National Institutes of Health said in a Q&A with The Highlands Current.

"In part, that's due to the reality that people of color are more likely to be in face-to-face jobs with others, so their chances of getting infected are far greater than for you and I, sitting in front of a computer, safely talking to each other," Fauci pointed out.


People With These Underlying Conditions

Mature woman having heart attack on stairs, outdoors

According to an earlier CDC report, those with underlying conditions — the most common being cardiovascular disease (32%), diabetes (30%) and chronic lung disease (18%) — were overwhelmingly more likely to suffer serious illness, as they were six times more likely to be hospitalized and 12 times more likely to die. 

RELATED: If You Feel This, You May Have Already Had COVID, Says Dr. Fauci


People in Jails and Prisons

Watch tower at a CA State Prison

The CDC reported 365,877 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in US correctional and detention facilities (301,375 resident cases and 64,502 of staff) and 1,864 deaths (1,763 residents and 101 of staff).


Healthcare Personnel

sad young female doctor or nurse wearing face protective mask for protection

COVID-19 hit hard people who are on the front line of the battle against the pandemic. The CDC recorded 328,016 coronavirus cases and 1,126 deaths among health care workers.


How to Survive the Pandemic—and Stop Infections From Spreading

Senior woman and daughter having coffee at safety distance in the garden.

No matter your age, race or where you live, do everything you can to prevent getting—and spreading—COVID-19 in the first place:  The nation's top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci strongly recommends you wear your face mask and avoid crowds, social distance, only run essential errands, wash your hands frequently, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Alek Korab
Alek Korab is a Co-Founder and Managing Editor of the ETNT Health channel on Eat This, Not That! Read more
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