The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday expanded its list of risk factors that make people more likely to develop severe illness or die from COVID-19. The update comes as the number of confirmed coronavirus infections rises to record levels in the United States, driven by alarming spikes in Florida, Texas and other states across the South and West.
The agency also said that pregnant women might be at higher risk, though more research is needed on that and a number of other underlying health conditions that may affect risk.
The chance of severe illness from COVID-19 increases with age, with older adults at highest risk, but the CDC noted that the risk doesn't begin suddenly at age 65. Instead, "people in their 50s are at higher risk for severe illness than people in their 40s. Similarly, people in their 60s or 70s are, in general, at higher risk for severe illness than people in their 50s. The greatest risk for severe illness from COVID-19 is among those aged 85 or older."