Obesity a major risk factor for coronavirus: report
French immunologist Jean-Francois Delfraissy looks on in the courtyard of the French Interior ministry in Paris Friday March 13, 2020.
People who are overweight face a major risk if infected with coronavirus, according to France’s top epidemiologist.
Prof. Jean-François Delfraissy, the head of France’s pandemic task force, warned that as many as 17 million people in France were seriously at risk from the coronavirus because of their age, preexisting illness or obesity.
France has a population of 67 million.
“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 during an interview with a French radio station.
“That is why we’re worried about our friends in America, where the problem of obesity is well known and where they will probably have the most problems because of obesity.”
Delfraissy said the mortality fate for France’s most-vulnerable people was around 14%, but overall nearly 90% of the infected population only faced flu-like symptoms.
The professor added that despite the rapid spread of the virus, the country was not particularly close to reaching herd immunity and, therefore, the nationwide lockdown should continue for several more weeks, at least.
“Initial data show that the number of people who may have developed immunity is lower than we imagined, about 10-15%,” Delfraissy said.
Delfraissy said France would be able to conduct between 100,000 and 250,000 coronavirus tests within two weeks, which would be a major step toward easing restrictions.