COVID-19 and Vulnerable Populations

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By News Team on March 13, 2020

When it comes to public health, “vulnerable populations” are at higher risk of infection, complications and even death resulting from exposure to spreading viruses.

“Vulnerable populations” include:

  • The frail elderly
  • People with serious chronic medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and lung disease
  • People whose immune systems are suppressed, including those living with chronic illness, especially autoimmune disorders; organ transplant recipients; and cancer patients

If you are at risk, the best course of action is to stay away from groups of people, social distancing (keeping a distance of 6 feet) and practicing the preventive measures above.

Next, stay in contact with your primary care provider. They can keep you informed about the current COVID-19 situation where you live and answer questions specific to your needs.

If a loved one is at risk, the CDC recommends taking the following steps to support them: 

  • Help them obtain an extra supply of the medications they take
  • Be sure that they have an abundant supply of any medical supplies they need, such as oxygen, wound care and dressings or incontinence supplies
  • Stock up on non-perishable food items to have on hand so your loved one doesn’t run out or have to venture out to stores

If your loved one lives in a care facility:


This article was reviewed March 12, 2020 by Thomas M. Kerkering, M.D., F.A.C.P., F.I.D.S.A., Professor of Medicine, Section of Infectious Diseases, Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine.

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