Please note that this advisory only summarizes some key points of CDC guidance as of November 6, 2020. State and local law, requirements, or guidance can and may differ. Additionally, CDC guidance is being updated on an ongoing basis; always check the CDC’s website for the most up to date information. The link to the CDC’s page on high risk conditions can be found here.

The CDC regularly updates its website to reflect medical data identifying the types of medical conditions that place people at an increased risk of developing a severe case of COVID-19. There is also a list of conditions that “may” place people at a higher risk.

Recently, the CDC moved pregnancy from the category of “might be at an increased risk” to “are at increased risk” of developing severe illness from the COVID-19 virus. The update is based on additional data that has been analyzed over the last few months. Previously, only pregnancies with complications were considered at a possible higher risk. Now, the CDC has “strong” evidence that pregnancy alone places pregnant individuals in the definitive “at increased risk” category.


The following conditions are recognized by the CDC as being at increased risk (based on data reported by the CDC) for developing severe illness, including heightened risk of death, from COVID-19. Conditions in bold were recently added or revised:

  • Cancer;
  • Chronic kidney disease;
  • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease);
  • Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies;
  • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant;
  • Obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30 kg/m2 or higher but < 40 kg/m2); and
  • Severe Obesity (BMI ≥ 40 kg/m2);
  • Pregnancy;
  • Sickle cell disease;
  • Smoking; and
  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus.

The conditions that may place people at an increased risk of a severe case of COVID-19 include:

  • Asthma (moderate-to-severe)
  • Cerebrovascular disease (affects blood vessels and blood supply to the brain)
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Hypertension or high blood pressure
  • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids, or use of other immune weakening medicines
  • Neurologic conditions, such as dementia
  • Liver disease
  • Overweight (BMI > 25 kg/m2, but < 30 kg/m2)
  • Other chronic lung diseases
  • Pulmonary fibrosis (having damaged or scarred lung tissues)
  • Thalassemia (a type of blood disorder)
  • Type 1 diabetes mellitus

For information about the CDC’s scientific evidence for placing these conditions on the increased risk or possibly at increased risk lists, visit this link.

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