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COVID-19: Who is at risk?

This series will bust some common myths about COVID-19 while providing you with tips on how to protect yourself and your community.

Myth: The new coronavirus only affects elderly people or people with pre-existing medical conditions.

Young and healthy people can be infected by the new coronavirus (COVID-19).

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) older people and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease) appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus. However, the difference in severity of illness may not be as stark as what was initially thought. Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's Chief Public Health Officer, has recently shared updated information that 10% of patients hospitalized with the virus are under the age of 40. The American Center for Disease Control (CDC) has determined that youth are being  severely affected, reporting that up to 20% of people hospitalized for the virus and 12% of patients admitted to Intensive Care Units were between the ages of 20 and 44. Almost half of reported cases of infection in Canada have been in people younger than 50. It is extremely important that all Canadians, regardless of age, practice physical distancing as well as proper hand hygiene.