March 13, 2020

Coronavirus and Chronic Disease

Coronavirus and Chronic Disease

What does coronavirus spread across the country mean for the 10 million Americans who are immuno-deficient? While COVID-19 poses a risk for the elderly, it is also concerning for Americans suffering from underlying chronic health illnesses, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease and those in treatment for cancer. 

On this episode of the Patients Rising Podcast, we break down what the risk of coronavirus means for these patients and their caregivers, and what precautionary resources and steps should be considered. 


Paul Offit, M.D., Professor of Pediatrics and Director of Infectious Diseases at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. 

He has worked at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for over 20 years, where he serves as the Director of Infectious Diseases and as a Professor of Pediatrics. His expertise and research focus is on vaccines, immunology, and virology. 

Dr. Offit is well known for being the co-creator of the rotavirus vaccine, RotaTeq, which was approved for inclusion in the U.S. vaccination schedule in 2006. For his work on the vaccine, he received the Luigi Mastroianni and William Osler Awards from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and the Charles Mérieux Award from the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases. He was also honored by Bill and Melinda Gates during the launch of their Foundation’s Living Proof Project for global health.

He has published over 160 papers in medical journals dealing with his work on the rotavirus vaccine and overall vaccine safety practices. He has also authored eight books on vaccines and how they are communicated about with the general public. 

Previously, Dr. Paul Offit has been a member of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. He is a founding board member of the Autism Science Foundation and a board member of Every Child by Two. 

Dr. Offit earned a B.S. from Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts, and earned his M.D. from the University of Maryland, Baltimore. 


Terry Wilcox, Executive Director, Patients Rising

Dr. Robert Goldberg, “Dr. Bob”, Co-Founder and Vice President of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest.

Kate Pecora, Field Correspondent 


Virology expert: coronavirus mortality ‘keeps coming down’ 

Philly vaccine pioneer: We can’t rush a coronavirus vaccine |Q&A 

Where to go for the latest information:

CDC: COVID-19 What You Should Know

Resources from NIH

Will my insurance cover a coronavirus test?

Health Insurance Providers Respond to Caronavirus (COVID-19)

Medicare: Is my test, item, or service covered?

Who should be tested for Coronavirus?

In addition to the advice that is continually updated by the CDC, you should check with your doctor about whether you need to be tested or when to take additional steps to protect yourself. 

CDC: COVID-19 Information for Specific Groups

Are my meds in short supply? 

ASHP: Current Drug Shortages

Data and studies:


Clinical predictors of mortality due to COVID-19 based on an analysis of data of 150 patients from Wuhan, China

Get a flu shot.

Finally, we would be remiss if we did not urge our audience to get a flu shot and ensure that vaccinations for other diseases such as measles, pneumonia, etc., are up to date.

There have been 32 million cases of influenza during the 2019-2020 flu season.

Last year nearly 1300 people contracted measles.  That’s the highest number since 1992.

Need help?

The successful patient is one who can get what they need when they need it. We all know insurance slows us down, so why not take matters into your own hands. Our Navigator is an online tool that allows you to search a massive network of health related resources using your zip code so you get local results. Get proactive and become a more successful patient right now at

Have a question or comment about the show, want to suggest a show topic or share your story as a patient correspondent?

Drop us a line:

Paul Offit, M.D.

Professor of Pediatrics, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Paul Offit is a Professor of Pediatrics and Director of Infectious Diseases at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. His expertise and experience focuses on vaccines, immunology, and virology, and he is credited with co-inventing the rotavirus vaccine.


Mast Cell Activation Disorder Patient


Patient Correspondent, TX-24