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Lack of an underlying health condition doesn’t mean you have no risk of dying from Covid-19

EL PASO, Texas -- When an El Pasoan dies from Covid-19 and officials say the victim had no underlying health conditions, it doesn't necessarily mean the victim wasn't at a higher risk of dying from the coronavirus.

During the weekly pandemic update to City Council on June 22, El Paso City-County Health Authority Dr. Hector Ocaranza said one victim who was reported the week of June 15, a woman in her 30s who had no underlying health conditions, was morbidly obese.

Ocaranza called morbid obesity a risk factor that could impede a person's ability to fight Covid-19.

Morbid obesity is defined as having a BMI over 40 or weighing 100 pounds more than a person's ideal weight.

According to city data, as of June 13, nine people who didn't have medically documented underlying health conditions died of Covid.

The Centers for Disease Control gives examples of underlying medical conditions as being chronic lung disease, moderate to severe asthma, serious heart conditions, diabetes, being on dialysis, having liver disease or being immunocompromised.

Risk factors include age, race, ethnicity, and gender, and whether the victim smokes, is obese, is pregnant, uses certain medications, or lives in poverty.

The City of El Paso already discloses on its website the age, race, ethnicity and gender of the fatalities as well as the zip code, which can a good indicator of socioeconomic status.

ABC-7 asked if the city will publicize whether victims had certain risk factors such as smoking or obesity.

The city said that is dependent on the available medical records, adding, "There may be some special circumstances in which after we review the available medical records, we might request records from the primary care providers to have a better understanding of other circumstances that might have influence in the death of a particular patient."

Health officials urge regular physical activity and good food choices to help optimize health and well-being during the coronavirus pandemic.

Even walking daily and eating at set times during the day can help improve health.

Coronavirus / News / Video

Stephanie Valle

Stephanie Valle co-anchors ABC-7 at 5, 6 and 10 weeknights.


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