Grey-haired woman in a mask

Because it is a new disease, there is limited information regarding overall COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) risk. However, we do know that being an older adult and/or having certain underlying conditions put you at higher risk for severe illness from the COVID-19.

If you are among those with a greater risk for coronavirus, you will want to take extra care to follow precautions to protect against the virus.

The University of Maryland Medical System is committed to bringing you helpful, accurate resources about COVID-19 and how to prevent its spread.

Coronavirus Risk

Based on currently available information, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) advises that those at high-risk for severe illness from COVID-19 include people who:

  • Are age 65 years and older
  • Are living in a nursing home or long-term care facility
  • Have certain underlying conditions, particularly if they are not well controlled

Underlying Conditions

The underlying medical conditions that can heighten your risk include:

  • Chronic lung disease, including COPD and moderate-to-severe asthma
  • Serious heart conditions
  • Severe obesity with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or more
  • Diabetes
  • Chronic kidney disease that requires dialysis
  • Liver disease
  • Conditions that cause you to be immunocompromised

What Is Immunocompromised?

Many conditions can cause a person to be immunocompromised. These include:

  • Cancer treatment
  • Smoking
  • Bone marrow or organ transplant
  • Immune deficiencies
  • Poorly controlled HIV or AIDS
  • Prolonged use of corticosteroids and other immune weakening medications