June 25, 2020 / 5:31 PM / 16 days ago

CDC head warns pregnant women with COVID-19 face greater risks

FILE PHOTO: Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Dr. Robert Redfield testifies before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce on the Trump Administration's Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, U.S. June 23, 2020. Kevin Dietsch/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Pregnant women have increased risk of severe COVID-19 compared to women who are not pregnant, the head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Prevention Robert Redfield told reporters on Thursday, warning that states with rising coronavirus cases need to take action.

The CDC has found that pregnant women are more likely to be admitted to the intensive care unit and to be put on mechanical ventilators than non-pregnant women, he said.

The agency said that pregnant women did not have a higher risk of death. The added it does not have data yet on how COVID-19 affects the outcomes of those pregnancies.

Redfield said that more infections among young people could partly be attributed to an increase in diagnosing illness among that group, whose members are less likely to be hospitalized than older people.

The agency may use social media platform TikTok to try to reach young people with warnings to keep a distance of 6 feet, wear a face covering and avoid large gatherings.

“These hotspots that we see...They are significant. And we need to respond to them,” Redfield said, pointing to rising hospitalizations in Arizona and Texas.

While COVID-19 cases have fallen in states like New York and New Jersey, coronavirus is on the rise in the South and West as states have reopened restaurants and businesses. Many of those new cases have been among young people, he said.

The CDC said that people with serious cardiovascular and kidney conditions, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, obesity, sickle cell disease, immunocompromised state from organ transplant and Type 2 diabetes are most at risk. Also at risk, but less so, are people with high blood pressure.

Reporting by Caroline Humer in New York and Manojna Maddipatla in Bengaluru; Editing by Aurora Ellis

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