More than half (51.1%) of North Carolina adults are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 because they are 65 or older, have at least one underlying health condition or both, according to data analyzed by the NC Department of Health and Human Services.

Risk factors identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) were cross referenced with NCDHHS data sources to identify the percent of North Carolinians at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19. The underlying health conditions included chronic lung disease, cardiovascular disease, severe obesity, diabetes, kidney disease, liver disease and immunosuppressive conditions, including cancer treatment, smoking and other immune disorders.

Findings from the analysis include:

  • In 2018, 27 percent of people 18–24, 36 percent of people 25–49, 49 percent of people 50–64 and 56 percent of people 65 and older had at least one underlying health condition that is a risk factor for serious illness from COVID-19.
  • In 2018, 45 percent of blacks and 42 percent of whites had at least one underlying health condition.
  • As of May 4, 2020, 31 percent of all people with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 had at least one underlying health condition.
  • As of May 4, 2020, 75 percent of all laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 deaths had at least one underlying health condition.

The full report is available online at https://files.nc.gov/ncdhhs/documents/files/covid-19/Risk-Factors-for-Severe-Illness-from-COVID-19.pdf. Limitations to this analysis include NCDHHS data sources do not contain all underlying health conditions identified by the CDC and the definitions of the specific health condition may not be an exact match.