The virus that causes COVID-19 does not affect everyone equally. There are many risk factors for severe COVID-19. The top four risk factors for early death or other serious complications are being older, male, of a racial/ethnic minority, and having other medical conditions. For example, an elderly person with obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or chronic kidney disease has a very high risk for COVID-19. In the United States, specific races/ethnicities, such as African Americans, Hispanic/Latinos and Native Americans, are also COVID-19 risk factors. People in these populations with other serious medical conditions such as diabetes are at much higher risk for severe COVID-19. Overall, COVID-19 has created disparities in who is infected and severity of infection. We can decrease the differences in COVID-19 risk by understanding why some populations are impacted more than others. Some risk factors cannot be changed, such as age and gender. However, some risk factors can be improved, including obesity and poor control of diabetes.


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