High risk groups

Is the coronavirus more dangerous for some groups?

Foto: Johner/Maskot Bildbyrå AB

Is the coronavirus more dangerous for some groups?

Most people who are infected will probably have mild, self-limiting respiratory symptoms while some may experience a more severe disease, with conditions such as pneumonia and breathing difficulties.

Based on information from the outbreak in China, it appears that the following groups have a higher risk of serious illness from covid-19 (coronavirus):

  • The elderly (65 years and over)
  • People with underlying chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cancer and high blood pressure.
  • People who smoke also have a possible higher risk of serious illness from a coronavirus infection

Elderly persons with risk factors may especially have a higher risk of serious illness from covid-19.

Based on present knowledge, we assume the risk not to be equal for all groups mentioned above. This is especially true for diabetes, where a well-regulated diabetes without any long-term complications most likely will not lead to an increased risk of serious illness. This can also be the case for other chronic diseases that are well managed.

To date, we have limited knowledge of other risk groups. It is possible that people with chronic renal disease, liver disease and people with impaired immunity (also that caused by medical treatment) also have an increased risk of serious illness. Information on this page can change as The Norwegian Institute of Public Health (Folkehelseinstituttet, FHI) acquire updated knowledge about covid-19.

Children seem to develop a mild illness and there are no indications so far of children with chronic diseases developing serious illness from covid-19.

Should patients who receive treatment to suppress the immune system stop treatment?

Based on the information we have, there is no reason discourage startup or termination of ongoing immunosuppressive treatment. Should persons who are on immunosuppressive treatment become sick, they can contact their doctor for advice in relation to medication, take samples ortests and examination.

How can you, as part of a risk group, and those closest to you reduce the risk of transmission?

  • Stay at home as much as possible
  • Keep a physical distance to others and avoid crowds
  • Avoid public transport if you can
  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and lukewarm water
  • If hand washing is unavailable, you can resort to hand disinfection products that contain alcohols
  • Avoid shaking hands, kissing and hugging
  • Clean the household frequently, with particular attention to surfaces that are often touched
  • Should a person in the household feel unwell (especially if a coronavirus infection is suspected), limit the company and contact your doctor if you are in need of medical attention
  • Avoid babysitting young children, as they often have no or only mild symptoms of covid-19 and can pass the virus on to you

What precautions can you as member of a risk group take?

  • Make sure you have the necessary medicines available. Keep taking your regular medication, and make changes only in agreement with your doctor.
  • Make appointments with someone who can assist you with necessary purchases. Consider asking them to deliver to your door, rather than bringing your items inside for you.
  • Check if your municipality has made any arrangements with volunteer organisations that can assist you when needed.

Do you have questions about corona and need someone to talk to?

Several user organisations are now expanding their staffing to be able to answer questions from persons with chronic diseases over the phone:

  • Do you have questions related to diabetes and corona? Call Diabeteslinjen at 815 21 948.
  • Frivillighetens koronalinje (Voluntary corona-line): 23120080 (9 am - 3 pm daily), The service is operated by the Norwegian National Health Association and The Norwegian Women's Public Health Association.
  • Talk to The Norwegian Cancer Society about cancer and the coronavirus at 21 49 49 21 or by chat.
  • Do you have a lung disease, and have questios about the coronavirus? Get advice from LHL (The National Association for Heart and Lung Diseases).
  • If you have general questions, you can also call the Directorate of Health at telephone number 815 55 015.

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health recommend people with chronic diseases that have a scheduled appointment to keep it unless otherwise informed. If in doubt contact your treating institution.

Can I visit family and friends in a healthcare institution?

No, you can not. Restrictions have been introduced for visitors to healthcare institutions nationwide. Entry control has been imposed, and general visitation has been suspended. This is to safeguard infection control for the patients.

Persons who pose a risk by possibly being infected will be rejected from all healthcare institutions.