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Underlying health conditions: What they are and how they put you at risk

The CDC lists underlying conditions as asthma, HIV, lung diseases, cancer and other conditions that affect the immune system.

Posted: Mar 24, 2020 7:17 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- The words “underlying health condition” have been floating around as coronavirus continues to spread across the world, and many are left wondering what it actually means.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists underlying conditions as asthma, HIV, lung diseases, cancer and other conditions that affect the immune system.

People with underlying health conditions and older individuals are among those at higher risk of having more serious complications if they contract coronavirus, according to the CDC.

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One Eugene resident, who won a major victory 14 months ago, said more awareness is needed regarding the gravity of the virus.

“My tough battle was surviving cancer, and I feel that this is just another step along the way of being a survivor,” Joan Canty said.

Canty has been taking every precaution to protect herself, and she said it is important for people to know that it does not just affect a specific demographic.

“We need to practice these safe practices for everybody's sake,” Canty said. “Not just mine or somebody else's -- for all of us.”

She has a message to share to all who feel that they may not be at risk of catching the virus.

“Please don't think that you're invulnerable or immune,” Canty said. “It’s easy to go stir crazy in the house, especially if you've got young children but don’t endanger them. Don’t endanger yourself. Don’t endanger everybody else."

Others are concerned about those close to them who have an underlying condition.

“I have a friend who has something that really affects her lungs,” Eugene resident Mary Beth Bonte said. "If she gets sick, she’s really vulnerable if she catches this disease.”

Bonte said there are other ways to communicate than face-to-face.

“We can still communicate with each other by telephone or by Facetime," Bonte said. "I do that with my daughter and my grandaughter. We don't have to go to each other's homes.”

Eight deaths have been confirmed in Oregon from the coronavirus.

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