Can coronavirus cause patients to develop severe diseases? Does asthma increase that risk?

Dr. Frank McGeorge answers viewer question about coronavirus

DETROIT – There’s a lot of information and misinformation out there about the coronavirus, so Local 4 is letting viewers submit questions so we can find verified answers.

Click here if you want to submit a question about the coronavirus.

Dr. Frank McGeorge wants to verify or refute any information about the coronavirus, but there are also some questions experts still don’t know the answer to. McGeorge is discussing them because acknowledging what we don’t know is just as important as verifying information so people don’t rely on incorrect answers.

Severe diseases

Viewers from Farmington, Royal Oak and South Lyon want to know if they are at risk of developing a series disease from coronavirus.

The answer is that it depends.

The risk of death in patients older than 80 is 15 percent. In patients between 70 and 79, that risk is 8 percent. The overall risk across all ages is 2.3 percent.

Many people have also asked if having a certain medical condition increases the risk of death from coronavirus.

The risk of death for patients with cardiovascular disease who develop coronavirus is 10.5 percent. That risk for people with diabetes is 7.3 percent. For chronic respiratory disease, it is 6.3 percent. For hypertension, the risk is 6 percent, and the cancer risk is 5.6 percent.

Researches have not specifically said whether those people with other medical conditions were also in the older groups. Regardless, most experts have inferred that the risk would have an additive effect.

Asthma risks

Viewers have specifically asked if asthma increases the risk. It is not clear at this time.

One paper published in the Journal of Allergy that looked at 140 infected patients found that having allergies, asthma and COPD were not risk factors for infection. However, small numbers were used so further study is needed.

While there is limited data, because the illness is a respiratory disease, it is sensible to consider asthma a higher risk for severe disease until more information is available.

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