One group that the coronavirus seems to target is older people. Not that it is actually singling them out, but rather the elderly tend to have more underlying health issues and are therefore more apt to catch it.
On Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) strongly urged Americans over the age of 60 to stock up on supplies and then stay home to avoid large crowds of people.
CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases director, Nancy Messonnier said, "As the trajectory of the outbreak continues, many people in the U.S. will at some point in time this year or next be exposed to this virus, and there’s a good chance many will become sick. The reason to stock up now is to kind of stick close to home."
Messonnier said global data from Japan and South Korea show that people younger than 60 generally have better outcomes if they catch the virus.
However, people older than 60 are at higher risk for serious illness, especially if they have underlying health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease or lung disease, Messonnier said.
Younger people with underlying health problems are also at risk, but older people with health problems are the most vulnerable.
She added that her parents are in their 80s, and even though they don't live in an area where there is currently community spread of the virus, she advised them to stay close to home.
"The highest risk is those who are older and with underlying health conditions," Messonnier continued. "I think if you're in one of those groups, separately or together, you need to be thinking towards what personal protections you want to take."
The CDC is also warning that people who are more risk for contracting the virus should avoid crowds. long plane trips, and “especially” cruise ships.
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