Expert Opinion: Obesity is Major COVID-19 Risk Factor

French immunologist Jean-Francois Delfraissy
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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.

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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.

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