COVID-19: Prevention and Groups at Higher Risk

Do your part to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in NYC by taking a few steps every day. Remember, the groups described below who are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 are depending on all of us to help keep them safe.


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Stay home if sick or recently exposed to COVID-19
Only leave for essential medical care or other essential errands.



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Keep physical distance
Stay at least 6 feet away from other people.


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Keep your hands clean
Wash your hands often with soap and water. Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.


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Wear a face covering
When you wear a face covering, you protect people around you in case you are infected but do not know it. A face covering can also help protect you from infection.

You can get better protection by wearing two masks (a cloth mask over a disposable mask), which improves the fit and adds layers. If you are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19, consider using a single higher-grade mask, such as a KN95.


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Get Tested
All New Yorkers should get a COVID-19 virus (diagnostic) test, whether or not they have symptoms or are at increased risk. Tests are free. Learn more about testing in NYC, including finding a free site near you.


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Avoid Travel

Traveling puts you and those around you at risk of getting sick and spreading the virus. If you must travel, plan ahead by reviewing our guidance and taking all recommended precautions. If you traveled internationally, be prepared to quarantine when you return. You are not required to quarantine after domestic travel, but it is still recommended for most travelers.


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People at Increased Risk of Severe Illness

Severe illness means that the person with COVID-19 may require hospitalization, intensive care or a ventilator to help them breathe, or that they may even die. People at increased risk of severe illness need to be especially careful about monitoring their health.

Among adults, the risk for severe illness from COVID-19 increases with age, with older adults at highest risk. For example, people in their 50s are at higher risk for severe illness than people in their 40s. Similarly, people in their 60s or 70s are, in general, at higher risk for severe illness than people in their 50s.

Long-standing systemic health and social inequities have put people from some racial and ethnic groups (including Black, Latino and Indigenous groups) at increased risk of getting sick and dying from COVID-19. Studies have shown that people from some racial and ethnic groups are dying from COVID-19 at younger ages. People of color are often younger when they develop chronic medical conditions and may be more likely to have more than one condition.

Adults of any age with the following underlying health conditions can be more likely to get severely ill from COVID-19:

  • Cancer
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Chronic lung diseases, including COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), asthma (moderate-to-severe), interstitial lung disease, cystic fibrosis and pulmonary hypertension
  • Dementia or other neurological conditions
  • Diabetes (type 1 or type 2)
  • Down Syndrome
  • Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathies and hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • HIV infection
  • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system)
  • Liver disease
  • Overweight or obesity (body mass index of 25 or higher)
  • Pregnancy
  • Sickle cell disease or thalassemia
  • Smoking, current or former
  • Solid organ or blood stem cell transplant
  • Stroke or cerebrovascular disease, which affects blood flow to the brain
  • Substance use disorders (such as alcohol or drugs)

We are still learning about COVID-19, and there may be other health conditions that increase the risk of severe illness. If you have one of the above underlying health conditions or are 65 or older, consider staying home to protect yourself. Work from home if you can, avoid crowds and gatherings, and be sure to practice physical distancing and other precautions if you go out.

Children

Children with underlying medical conditions are also at increased risk for severe illness compared to other children. There is currently limited evidence about which specific conditions can lead to increased risk for children. Current evidence suggests that children with the following conditions can be at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19:

  • Asthma or other chronic lung conditions
  • Congenital (since birth) heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Genetic conditions
  • Immunosuppression
  • Medical complexity
  • Metabolic conditions
  • Neurologic conditions
  • Obesity
  • Sickle cell disease

CDC: People Who Are at Increased Risk for Severe Illness


Additional Guidance

More Information