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Friday, Dec 04, 2020

Obese people are 'at higher risk from coronavirus'

A doctor has warned that obese people appear to be at higher risk from coronavirus.
Stefan de Hert, who is a former president of the European Society of Anaesthesiology, highlighted unpublished data from Italy on the types of patients with Covid-19 admitted to intensive care.

He said: ‘The mean age of all Covid-19 patients is 70 years, and one of the major risk factors for admission to intensive care is obesity.

‘Although it is mostly more serious in older patients, patients less than 50 years old without underlying conditions seem to constitute one in every five of the Covid-19 ICU patients.

‘Finally, infected women seem to develop less symptoms than men, and also children seem to experience the infection without important clinical problems.

‘These data are quite similar to what we have learned from the experiences of our Chinese colleagues.’

It comes as new data from the UK revealed that almost two thirds of those needing critical care were overweight.

A report into the NHS by Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre analysed all admissions to critical care units in the UK up until midnight last Thursday.

It found that of 196 patients, 127 were overweight while 71 had a BMI of 30 or higher.

In total, 57 patients were female and 139 were male.

The report also found that 37% of admissions were under the age of 60.

However, the number of people in critical care is believed to have soared in the four days since the report stopped monitoring cases.

Obesity can weaken the body’s immune system and increase inflammation, making it harder to fight off germs.

Excess weight can also put pressure on the lungs making it harder to breathe, increasing the risk of complications with coronavirus.

According to UK government advice, those who are seriously overweight (a BMI of 40 or above) are at increased risk of severe illness from Covid-19.

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