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Being overweight is a major risk factor for those infected with coronavirus, putting the US at risk, according to chief French epidemiologist Jean-François Delfraissy.
“This virus is terrible, it can attack young people, especially overweight young people. Those who are overweight really need to be careful,” Delfraissy told Franceinfo radio.
“That is why we are worried about our friends in America, where the problem of obesity is famous and where they will probably have the biggest problem because of obesity,” said Delfraissy, who heads the scientific council that advises the government for epidemics.
Delfraissy said up to 25 percent of French citizens were at risk of developing severe coronavirus complications due to age, pre-existing conditions, or obesity. He said that the death rate for those suffering from severe respiratory disease due to coronavirus was around 2 percent, but that it had risen to 14 percent for those who were more at risk, according to Reuters.
In 2018, 42.4 percent of Americans are considered obese, according to figures provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Obesity is most common in non-Hispanic blacks in 49.6 percent, followed by Hispanics in 42.2 percent, non-Hispanic whites in 42.2 percent and Asians in 17.4 percent, Reuters reported.
According to the CDC, conditions related to obesity – including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer – are some of the leading causes of “preventable, premature” deaths.
Obesity has been cited by health officials as a possible explanation for death rates that are higher than average in cities like New Orleans. In Louisiana, 65.8 percent of the population is overweight or obese, according to CDC figures.
Last week the CDC released a report showing that 78 percent of COVID-19 patients in the ICU had underlying health conditions, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and chronic lung disease.
Those who are obese are known to be more at risk of developing flu complications, but research also shows obese patients who are infected with flu also spill the virus for a longer time than those who are not obese.
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