New data on the types of patients who were admitted to intensive care in Italy has come to light - and it suggests those with obesity problems are at high risk from coronavirus.
Previously, the at-risk group was known to include those over 70, pregnant women, and people with underlying health conditions such as diabetes.
Now, Stefan de Hert, who is a former president of the European Society of Anaesthesiology, has revealed that obesity is a "major risk factor" when it comes to those patients who end up in intensive care.
"Major risk factor"
He said: "The mean age of all Covid-19 patients is 70 years, and one of the major risk factors for admission to intensive care is obesity.
"These data are quite similar to what we have learned from the experiences of our Chinese colleagues."
"Although it is mostly more serious in older patients, patients less than 50 years old without underlying conditions seem to constitute one in every five of the Covid-19 ICU patients."
He went on to say that women appear to experience slightly fewer symptoms than men.
Children commonly seem to get the infection without "important clinical problems."
"These data are quite similar to what we have learned from the experiences of our Chinese colleagues," he added.
Meanwhile, data from the UK so far has also suggested that those in the obese category are more at risk.
Almost two thirds of those who were in need of critical care were obese.
BMI of 30 or higher?
A report into the NHS by Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre has analysed all admissions to critical care units in the UK up until midnight last Thursday.
It found that 127 of 196 patients were overweight - and 71 had a BMI of 30 or higher.
57 patients in total were female and 139 were male.
However, cases have increased since that report was made.
The government has warned about obesity, since excess weight can put pressure on the lungs making it harder to breathe. This increases the risk of complications arising from coronavirus.
Another complication is that obesity can weaken the immune system, making it harder to fight off germs.
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