Being overweight is a major risk for people infected with the new coronavirus and the United States is particularly vulnerable because of high obesity levels there, France’s chief epidemiologist said.
Professor Jean-François Delfraissy, who heads the scientific council that advises the government on the epidemic, said as many as 17 million of France’s 67 m citizens were seriously at risk from the coronavirus because of age, pre-existing illness or obesity.
“This virus is terrible, it can hit young people, in particular obese young people. Those who are overweight really need to be careful,” Delfraissy said.
He said it was too soon to end France’s lockdown, which started March 17 and is set to last until at least April 15.
On Tuesday, the number of COVID-19 patients in ICU rose by just 59 (1pc) to 7,131 but the number of confirmed and probable cases reported nationally jumped by a record 11,059 or 11pc to 109,069 as more and more nursing homes declared cumulative data for the first time.
Obesity has been cited as a possible explanation for higher than average per-capita COVID-19 death rates in the US city of New Orleans and in Mexico.