Everyone who has died in Oregon from COVID-19 has had an underlying medical condition. So, it was vital that the Oregon Health Authority release the data showing what those conditions have been.

After EO Media Group published an editorial online last week calling on the OHA to do so, the OHA made the data public.

Cardiovascular disease was the cause associated the most — in 61% of the deaths. That was followed by neurological conditions with 46%, a category that includes cancer and other conditions with 41%, and diabetes at 35%. There are other categories, including being a former smoker at nearly 24%. The numbers add up to more than 100% because some people have more than one underlying condition.

The data is based on an analysis of 101 of the more than 109 people who had died from COVID-19 in Oregon last week when the report was issued. It is consistent with the warnings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about who is at higher risk of the disease. You can see the full chart on the OHA website.

Most people do not experience severe symptoms if they contract COVID-19. It’s not by any means pleasant, but it’s primarily fever and cough. Some people don’t have any symptoms. If an infected person is older or has an underlying medical condition, though, it can make it harder for their bodies to combat the infection. The disease can trigger the immune system to overreact, leading to devastation to the lungs and other organs.

The message to take away is this: The disease does hit people harder who are older. But anyone who has an underlying medical condition is at more serious risk. So, if you have a family member or a friend in those categories, please do what you can to help them stay healthy.

Remember, it has killed children in the United States, too. Keep them safe. Follow the precautions you know by heart by now. Government officials in Oregon are planning cautiously to gradually reopen the state. It’s up to us to work together to ensure that succeeds and people stay healthy.

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