Older people and people with underlying conditions are more likely to suffer serious symptoms or possible death with COVID-19 and that’s bad news for Indiana, which according to a new data analysis has the ninth-higher prevalence of serious medical conditions in its senior population.
The study by online insurance comparison website QuoteWizard shows Indiana has among some of the highest rates of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma among people 55 years old and older.
The data was analyzed from national prevalence rates and trends data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
According to QuoteWizard’s analysis, Indiana ranks seventh overall for COPD, with a rate of 15.45%. It was close behind in diabetes, 12th overall at 22.85%; 13th for cardiovascular disease at 9.95%; and 18th overall for asthma at 9.75%.
“The CDC estimates that the elderly have accounted for 80% of fatal COVID-19 cases in China and the U.S. The CDC has identified the most at-risk underlying health conditions are chronic lung disease, asthma, heart conditions and diabetes. These health conditions put people at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19,” QuoteWizard stated in its release.
Approximately 76 million Americans over 60 have some type of underlying health condition.
In March, Indiana State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box said two of her concerns about the state’s susceptibility to COVID-19 was that the population skews older than most and that Indiana has a high smoking rate, a behavior that typically leads to lung, heart and other conditions.
While only 36.7% of Indiana’s nearly 5,000 COVID-19 cases so far have been for people age 60 and older, according to the Indiana State Department of Health, the senior age group has accounted for 88.5% of the state’s 139 deaths.
Rural states, especially those in faded industrial belts and in the South, performed the worst in this study.
West Virginia ranked No. 1 overall for most underlying conditions, followed by Indiana neighbor Kentucky, then Alabama, Tennessee and Mississippi rounding out the top five.
Michigan was right behind Indiana at No. 10 and Ohio was No. 14.
Illinois, despite having an ongoing hotspot for coronavirus in the densely population Chicago metro area, had the 14th lowest for underlying conditions.