As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread, one thing we have learned is that people with pre-existing chronic diseases are at substantially higher risk of severe complications and death. As we race to respond to this pandemic, we need to protect and provide care for the most vulnerable among us, including people living with cardiovascular disease and other chronic diseases.People with coronavirus infection and cardiovascular disease, hypertension and diabetes are at least twice as likely to die. Smoking is especially deadly – one study found that smokers have 14 times greater odds of developing COVID-associated pneumonia than non-smokers.Even before the pandemic, cardiovascular disease has been the leading cause of death in the United States. Now, high levels of cardiovascular disease and its risk factors are amplifying the lethality of the COVID-19 pandemic.FORMER CDC CHIEF DR. TOM FRIEDEN: CORONAVIRUS INFECTION RISK MAY BE REDUCED BY VITAMIN DCardiovascular health is important, both during the pandemic and in times of relative calm. During flu season, people with heart disease or who have had a stroke are at higher risk for developing severe complications. Heart attacks are six times more likely within the first week of getting a flu infection, with the risk increasing with age.In addition to fighting COVID-19, we need to increase our resilience as individuals and as a society. Not only will this reduce the need for scarce intensive care beds and save lives during this pandemic, but it will also prevent heart attacks and strokes even after the pandemic has gone.More from OpinionAlthough cardiovascular disease is often referred to


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