Covid 19

This is an important piece to understand the risks associated with Covid and hopefully assuage some of the concerns about this virus and bring some proportion, always good for our mental health. It is mental health awareness week this week after all.

Mortality risk from COVID-19

The constant portrayal of COVID-19 as a threat has caused distortion in people’s perception of their risk of dying from it, if they are unlucky enough to catch it. The risks of dying are dependent on age and comorbidities, e.g.:

comorbidities included in the study were: cardiovascular diseases, chronic kidney diseases, chronic respiratory diseases, chronic liver disease, diabetes mellitus, cancers with direct immunosuppression, cancers with possible immunosuppression, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, chronic neurological disorders, sickle cell disorders.

This data will be an overestimate as it comes from table 1 of this study published in August 2020. The study estimated an overall infection fatality rate in Western Europe to be over 1% and even Professor Neil Ferguson agrees that it is more like 0.8% with WHO estimates now substantially lower than that.

You can calculate your own risk of a fatal infection using the Oxford University QCovid calculator, although it is worth bearing in mind that these figures were based on the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 in the spring 2020 peak, and test positivity rates in England are now just 4% of that level. Therefore results from this calculator are likely to be higher than the actual current risk.

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