Advanced age, underlying cardiovascular disease (including hypertension), and obesity are associated with a higher risk of progression to severe hypoxemia, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), and death in COVID‐19‐infected patients. African Americans have a higher degree of COVID‐19 mortality. The incidence of salt‐sensitive hypertension is higher in older individuals and African Americans. Lower circulating levels of natriuretic peptides, key regulators of vascular tone and kidney function, have been associated with salt‐sensitive hypertension and obesity. Evidence has accumulated that ANP administered to pulmonary endothelial cells, isolated lungs, and patients suffering from ARDS reduces endothelial damage and preserves the endothelial barrier, thereby reducing pulmonary edema and inflammation. Epidemiologic and pharmacologic data suggest that deficiencies in the natriuretic peptide hormone system may contribute to the development of severe lung pathology in COVID‐19 patients, and treatments that augment natriuretic peptide signaling may have potential to limit progression to ARDS.