CDC Covid Guidelines For Seniors

Older Adults

Older adults are at greater risk of requiring hospitalization or dying if diagnosed with COVID-19

Here's what you need to know:


  • Risk for severe illness with COVID-19 increases with age, with older adults at highest risk.

  • Certain medical conditions can also increase risk for severe illness.


People at increased risk, and those who live or visit with them, need to take precautions to protect themselves from getting COVID-19.

Increased Risk of Hospitalization or Death

Age Increases Risk for Severe Illness

  • Increased Risk of Hospitalization or Death

  • Reduce Your Risk of Getting Sick

  • If You Are Sick

  • Develop a Care Plan

  • Everyday Steps to Stay Healthy

  • Getting Help at Home

The risk for severe illness with COVID-19 increases with age, with older adults at highest risk. For example, people in their 50s are at higher risk for severe illness than people in their 40s. Similarly, people in their 60s or 70s are, in general, at higher risk for severe illness than people in their 50s. The greatest risk for severe illness from COVID-19 is among those aged 85 or older. Severe illness means that a person with COVID-19 may require:

  • hospitalization,

  • intensive care, or a

  • ventilator to help them breathe, or

  • they may even die.

Age Increases Risk for Hospitalization Older adults are at greater risk of requiring hospitalization or dying if they are diagnosed with COVID-19. As you get older, your risk of being hospitalized for COVID-19 increases.

Compared to younger adults, older adults are more likely to require hospitalization if they get COVID-19

Certain Medical Conditions Can Increase Risk, Other factors can also increase your risk for severe illness, such as having certain underlying medical conditions. By understanding the factors that put you at an increased risk, you can make decisions about what kind of precautions to take in your daily life. If you have an underlying medical condition, you should continue to follow your treatment plan:

  • Continue your medicines and do not change your treatment plan without talking to your healthcare provider.

  • Have at least a 30-day supply of prescription and non-prescription medicines. Talk to a healthcare provider, insurer, and pharmacist about getting an extra supply (i.e., more than 30 days) of prescription medicines, if possible, to reduce your trips to the pharmacy.

  • Do not delay getting emergency medical care because of COVID-19. Emergency departments have contingency infection prevention plans to protect you from getting COVID-19 if you need care.

  • Call your healthcare provider if you have any concerns about your underlying medical conditions or if you get sick and think that you may have COVID-19. If you need emergency help, call 911 right away.

  • If you don’t have a healthcare provider, contact your nearest community health center or health department.

Reduce Your Risk of Getting Sick Everyone, especially older adults and others at increased risk of severe illness, should take steps to protect themselves from getting COVID-19. Steps to Reduce Your Risk It is especially important for people at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19, and those who live or visit with them, to protect themselves from getting COVID-19. The best way to protect yourself and to help reduce the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 is to:

  • Wear a mask, when you interact with others.