What are the details?
The CDC earlier this month updated its list to include “having mood disorders” as making you more likely to become severely ill from coronavirus.
“Having mood disorders, including depression, and schizophrenia spectrum disorders can make you more likely to get severely ill from COVID-19,” the guidelines read.
Dr. Paul Offit, professor at the University of Pennsylvania and member of the FDA’s vaccine advisory panel, told the Times that the CDC’s list just keeps growing more and more vast.
“The door just keeps getting wider and wider,” Offit said.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness estimates that approximately 20% of American adults experience some form of mental illness every year.
Dr. Christine Crawford, associated medical director at NAMI, said that chronic mental or emotional conditions can “wreak havoc on the body’s immune system.”
“They’re at increased risk, just because of the impact the stress response has on the body,” Crawford explained.
The report added, “Preliminary research has shown an association between mental health disorders and hospitalization and severe sickness from COVID. A study published in January in JAMA Psychiatry found that Covid patients with schizophrenia were nearly three times more likely to die from the virus, although people with mood and anxiety disorders were not at an increased risk of death from coronavirus infection.”
In November, research published in the Lancet Psychiatry suggested that a “psychiatric diagnosis might be an independent risk factor” for even contracting the virus.
At the time, Maxime Taquet, lead author of the study, said, “Not only would it increase the risk of COVID, it would increase the severity of COVID once you have it.”
At least sixteen mental health advocacy groups have issued an open letter to CDC Director Rochelle Walensky calling for “immediate and urgent response” to include mental and emotional conditions on the CDC’s list.
A portion of the letter, according to a report in the Washington Examiner, read, “Our organizations hope that the CDC will seize this opportunity to demonstrate that individuals with these conditions are not invisible and deserve the consideration afforded to those living with other conditions appropriately identified on the CDC’s list.”
Miriam Delphin-Rittmon, assistant secretary for mental health and substance abuse at the Department of Health and Human Services, said that the CDC’s update is important, the Washington Post added.
“CDC’s recent inclusion of certain mental health conditions that can contribute to the severity of a COVID-19 infection reinforces the plight faced by Americans with behavioral health issues, including substance use disorders,” Delphin-Rittmon insisted.