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This Makes You "Most Likely" to Die of COVID, Say Experts

Doctors explain the factors that increase your chance of dying from COVID.

To date, there have been 51.2 million cases of COVID in the U.S. and over 806,000 Americans have died, the New York Times reports. People of any age can contract the virus and while most recover within a reasonable amount of time, the chances of dying increases greatly with certain factors. LetsGetChecked's Executive Director of Epidemiology, Dr. Gwen Murphy, Ph.D., MPH says "It is important to remember that the majority of people who contract COVID-19 will recover within a few weeks. However, those with underlying medical conditions are at an increased risk of developing complications and this risk rises with the number of medical conditions that a person has. A full list of conditions which might increase your risk of developing severe COVID-19 is available at the CDC website." Eat This, Not That! Health talked to doctors who explained who is at high risk of dying from COVID and why. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


Unvaccinated People

Person refuses nurse injection or vaccination.

Dr. Tom Yadegar, pulmonologist and medical director of the intensive care unit at Providence Cedars-Sinai Tarzana Medical Center says, "COVID-19 does not discriminate against who it infects, but there are patients that are more likely to develop severe symptoms, hospitalization and possibly death from a COVID-19 infection. Currently, patients who are unvaccinated pose the highest risk of hospitalization and death from a COVID-19 infection. Vaccines against COVID-19 continue to be the best protection against serious outcomes of the virus."

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People with Existing Health Conditions

Doctor doing an eye exam on his patient.

According to Dr. Yadegar, "Additional patient populations at risk of severe complications include immunocompromised patients and patients with existing chronic health conditions such as obesity and diabetes. The unifying factor across these populations is their weakened immune state, leading to a decreased fighting response their bodies are able to mount against an infection."

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woman in bed suffering from cancer

Dr. Murphy explains, "Having cancer can make you more likely to get severely ill from COVID-19. Treatments for many types of cancer can weaken your body's ability to fight off disease. As far as we understand at this time, based on available studies, having a history of cancer may increase your risk too."

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Woman checking blood sugar level while sitting on bench

"People with diabetes are more likely to have severe symptoms and complications when infected with any virus and this is true for coronavirus too," Dr. Murphy says. "Your risk of getting very sick is lower if your diabetes is well controlled."

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Viral Infections

Young upset stressed woman suffering from abdominal and stomach pain during menstruation, PMS in room at home. Inflammation and infection. Food poisoning

According to Dr. Murphy, "Viral infections can also increase inflammation, or internal swelling, in people with diabetes. This can also be caused by above-target blood sugars, and that inflammation could contribute to more severe complications."


Pregnancy Puts You at Risk

Female doctor is checking pregnant woman with stethoscope

Dr. Murphy states, "People who are pregnant or have been recently pregnant are at an increased risk of developing severe illness with COVID-19, meaning they are more likely to require hospitalization and intensive care or ventilation. People who contract COVID-19 during pregnancy are also at an increased risk of early delivery (earlier than 37 weeks). For this reason it is important to get vaccinated if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or trying to get pregnant."


How to Stay Safe Out There


Follow the public health fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated or boosted ASAP; if you live in an area with low vaccination rates, wear an N95 face mask, don't travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Heather Newgen
Heather Newgen has two decades of experience reporting and writing about health, fitness, entertainment and travel. Heather currently freelances for several publications. Read more about Heather
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