Study claims individuals with autism could be at a higher risk of COVID-19 contagion

A study authored by Whitney Schott, Sha Tao, and Lindsay Shea of Drexel University claim that adults suffering from autism spectrum disorder may be at a higher risk of COVID-19 infection.

First published in the peer-reviewed journal Autism, researchers first identified risk factors for COVID-19 among a range of adults aged 20-64 enrolled in a Medicaid program.

During their study, researchers noted that as many as 83,150 adults with autism and 615,607 adults with an intellectual disability were established as having met the inclusion criteria.

The study showed how adults with autism and intellectual disability may be at an increased risk of infection from COVID-19 and comorbidities related to severe illness from the viral disease.

“These high-risk populations should be recognized by clinicians and these groups should be prioritized for vaccine outreach and education,” said co-author Schott in a news release.

“Trusted providers with preexisting relationships may be in the best position to help those in this population become vaccinated. Efforts should also be made to provide up-to-date information about safe practices, such as wearing face-coverings, maintaining physical distance, handwashing, avoiding crowds and increasing ventilation,” the news release also states.

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