In the year since COVID-19 has upended life as we know it, it has become increasingly evident that certain individuals are more at risk of severe infection than others. While some people become afflicted by the virus and experience no symptoms, others are struck with such severe shortness of breath that hospitalization and in the worst-case scenario, mechanical ventilation is necessary.
There is not a straightforward way to know which individuals will experience more severe disease, but an association has emerged between critical COVID-19 and chronic illness. Certain medical conditions predispose people to experiencing more significant complications from a COVID-19 infection. These include obesity, diabetes, cancer, kidney, and lung diseases, among others. As such, if an individual or a group has one or several of these chronic medical conditions, they are at especially high risk. With this in mind, it becomes important to recognize that there are communities in which these medical conditions are more prevalent; thus, these have the greatest risk of morbidity and mortality from this pandemic.