COVID-19 Roundup: Hospitalizations 6 Times Higher for Those With Chronic Conditions; FDA’s Caution About Pets; and Most Back U.S. Health Measures

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June 19, 2020


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CDC: Death Rate 12 Times Higher for COVID-19 Patients With Underlying Health Issues, Led by Heart Disease

As of May 30, 2020, the most comprehensive analysis of COVID-19 hospitalizations in the U.S., thus far, finds the most common underlying health conditions were cardiovascular disease (32 percent), diabetes (30 percent), and chronic lung disease (18 percent), according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Hospitalizations were six times higher and deaths 12 times higher among those with reported underlying conditions, compared to those with none, the CDC concluded in its large-scale study released this week of U.S. COVID-19 cases through the end of May.

The CDC report describes demographic characteristics, underlying health conditions, symptoms, and outcomes among 1.3 million confirmed COVID-19 cases, January 22–May 30.

“These findings highlight the continued need for community mitigation strategies, especially for vulnerable populations, to slow COVID-19 transmission,” the CDC states.

The report also indicates that severe illness and death from the coronavirus increases with age, particularly among men and people with underlying health conditions. Death was most commonly reported among patients 80 and older, regardless of whether they had an underlying health issue.

Race and ethnicity data show that 36 percent were white, 33 percent Hispanic, 22 percent black, 4 percent Asian and about 1 percent American Indian. Though the numbers are incomplete, they echo other reports that found minorities have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

About equal numbers of men and women were infected with COVID-19, the CDC said. But men were more likely to have severe complications, the report found.

Among cases with known race and ethnicity, the CDC said 33 percent of persons were Hispanic, 22 percent African-American, and 1.3 percent were American Indian or Alaska Native. “These findings suggest that persons in these groups, who account for 18 percent, 13 percent, and 0.7 percent of the U.S. population, respectively, are disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic,” the CDC stated.


FDA on Pets: You Probably Won’t Get it From Them, But Protect Your Animals From COVID-19

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is cautioning U.S. pet owners that animals probably don’t spread the coronavirus — but infected people can likely give it to their pets. The FDA has released a video and a question-and-answer section for pet owners. House cats, as well as big cats in zoos, have reportedly tested positive for COVID-19.

In the FDA’s video, the agency says that cats and ferrets are the pets most susceptible to COVID-19. However, dogs can catch it too. In the video, the FDA also recommends you avoid crowded dog parks for now.

Based on the “limited information available to date,” the risk of pets spreading COVID-19 to people is low, the FDA says. “Until we learn more about how this virus affects animals, treat pets as you would human family members to protect them from a possible infection,” states the FDA.

That includes:

  • Not letting pets interact with people or other animals outside the household.
  • Keeping cats indoors when possible to prevent them from interacting with other animals or people.
  • Walking dogs on a leash maintaining at least 6 feet (2 meters) from other people and animals.
  • Avoiding dog parks or public places where a large number of people and dogs gather.

U.S. Survey Finds that Vast Majority of People Support Publc Health Restrictions

Most people support public health measures to slow the spread of COVID-19, including stay-at-home orders, wearing face coverings, social distancing and other restrictions, according to the results of surveys conducted in New York City, Los Angeles and across the U.S. that were published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“CDC’s COVID-19 response is now in its sixth month, and [although] we’re making real progress, we have a lot of work ahead as we reopen America,” CDC Director Robert Redfield, M.D, said during a press briefing this week. “Our recommendations evolve based on new information that becomes available, but it’s extremely important to embrace recommendations [regarding] social distancing, hand-washing and wearing a face covering when in public.”

Survey respondents were categorized over three subsets — those living in New York City, Los Angeles and across the nation (U.S.). Those who support of stay-at-home orders and nonessential business closures: U.S., 79.5 percent; New York, 86.7 percent; Los Angeles, 81.5 percent. Those who reported always or often wearing cloth face coverings in public areas: U.S., 74.1 percent; New York, 89.6 percent; Los Angeles 89.8 percent. And those who believed that their state’s restrictions had the right balance or were not restrictive enough (U.S., 84.3 percent; New York, 89.7 percent; Los Angeles, 79.7 percent.

During May 5–12, 2020, a total of 4,042 adults aged 18 years or older were invited to complete a web-based survey. Surveys were conducted among residents of New York City and Los Angeles “to enable comparison of the two most populous cities in the United States with each other and with the nationwide cohort,” the CDC says. The nationwide survey did not exclude respondents from NYC and Los Angeles, but no respondent was counted in more than one cohort, the agency said.

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