As COVID-19 continues to spread, you will probably see references to “underlying
conditions” as a risk factor for more severe complications. But
what does that mean?
Because COVID-19 is a respiratory virus, patients with chronic medical
conditions are at a higher risk of developing a severe lower respiratory
infection with low oxygen levels and pneumonia. This group of patients
may require hospitalization. Chronic medical conditions – what many
may call “underlying conditions” -- include diabetes, heart
disease, obesity, cancer and kidney disease. Elderly patients are also
at a higher risk of severe illness.
Of course, there is a smaller number of otherwise healthy individuals who
can develop severe infection, too. It’s important to note that most
patients who are infected will recuperate at home and not require additional
Whether or not you have a chronic medical condition that makes you more
vulnerable to the virus, it’s important for everyone to take precautions
to limit the spread of COVID-19 in our community. Social distancing can
slow the rate of spread of this illness and protect our community from
a severe outbreak. This means trying to maintain a distance of 6 feet
when in public and avoiding crowded situations.
Dr. Johnny Jones, Medical Director of Emergency Medicine
Baton Rouge General