Obesity is major COVID-19 risk factor
Being overweight is a major risk for people infected with the new coronavirus and the United States is particularly vulnerable because of high obesity levels there, France’s chief epidemiologist said on Wednesday.
Professor Jean-François Delfraissy, who heads the scientific council that advises the government on the epidemic, said as many as 17 million of France’s 67 million citizens were seriously at risk from the coronavirus because of age, pre-existing illness or obesity. Yesterday an other French hospital manager said that nearly 90% of patients in intense care are overweight.
“This virus is terrible, it can hit young people, in particular obese young people. Those who are overweight really need to be careful,” Delfraissy told franceinfo radio.
“That is why we’re worried about our friends in America, where the problem of obesity is well known and where they will probably have the most problems because of obesity.”
Delfraissy said 88% of those infected with the coronavirus suffered only severe flu-like symptoms.
The mortality rate for young people entering hospital with severe COVID-19 respiratory disease was about 2%, he said, but that rose to 14% for people who are more fragile.
Despite the rapid spread of the virus in France, the country is still far from getting to the point where 50% to 60% of the population has been infected and recovered and at which point a certain level of “herd immunity” is reached, Delfraissy said.