The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on health is complex and multifaceted; it affects people and populations differently. Risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19 is influenced by demographics such as age, race, education and income; chronic conditions and behaviors such as obesity and smoking; and social and economic factors such as housing and poverty. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention track the total number of COVID-19 cases, new cases in the last seven days, case rate and total number of deaths in each state here.
To provide a broad background on the many areas of health affected by COVID-19, America’s Health Rankings has added COVID-19: Underlying Conditions and Risk Factors health measures to the Explore Health Topics section of the website. This display allows users to compare COVID-19-related health measures—by state and demographics such as age, race/ethnicity, education and income—together in one place and with multiple visuals. Measures include the prevalence of asthma, cancer, chronic kidney disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, low-care nursing home residents, multiple chronic conditions, obesity and smoking. In addition to the prevalence of chronic conditions, social, economic and demographic measures are available to explore.
The COVID-19 pandemic threatens older adult health and well-being as seniors are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. The Centers of Medicare & Medicaid Services track the number of cases and hospitalizations of Medicare beneficiaries here. Necessary public health safety measures such as physical distancing has the potential to exacerbate the issue of social isolation in older adults. Knowing the factors that place older adults at risk for social isolation is critical in identifying high risk populations of seniors during this crisis. Factors that influence risk of social isolation among seniors include race and ethnicity, immigration status, level of English proficiency, sexual orientation and gender identity, income and education levels, marital status and urbanicity. To raise the importance of and address the risk of social isolation, county-level risk of social isolation maps for older adults are available in the Learn section for each state.
“COVID-19 is a real and lethal threat. Yet we must remember that the health of individuals and communities requires us to address the many things that cause illness in addition protecting ourselves from this historic infectious disease,” said Rhonda L. Randall, D.O., Chief Medical Officer, UnitedHealthcare Employer & Individual plans. “For example, there is evidence that childhood vaccinations have dropped off. This is concerning because vaccines are a safe and effective way of protecting infants and children from potentially life-threatening preventable infectious diseases. Also, ER visits for heart attacks have declined. This is worrisome because people may be delaying or not be seeking care when they are experiencing symptoms. It’s critically important that we continue the progress we have made in the prevention and care of all diseases.”