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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated the list of underlying medical conditions associated with higher risk for severe COVID-19. Their list is based on what has been reported in the scientific literature as of August 31, 2021 and is available here.
Mental health disorders (such as mood disorders including depression, and schizophrenia spectrum disorders) were added to the list in September 2021 based on evidence published between December 1, 2019 and August 31, 2021. Substance use was already on the list based on evidence from case-control and cohort studies.
There is an incredible effort in the scientific community to share information on COVID-19 and associated underlying medical conditions that put adults at higher risk of severe illness. Severe illness from COVID-19 includes hospitalization, admission to the intensive care unit (ICU), intubation or mechanical ventilation, or death.
Age is the strongest risk factor for severe COVID-19 outcomes. In 2020 people aged 65 years or older accounted for 81% of U.S. COVID-19 related deaths, and as of September 2021 the mortality rate in this group was more than 80 times the rate of those aged 18-29.
Behavioral health clinicians can play a critical role in helping patients understand the importance of COVID-19 vaccination and eligibility for a booster shot. Healthcare teams can work together to identify patients who will benefit from additional attention during the pandemic.
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