How to Assess and Reduce Your Personal Risk of Covid-19

The average age of people dying with Covid-19 in Australia is 84. Most deaths happen among people with comorbidities such as obesity or chronic kidney disease. Covid-19 poses different risks to each of us: consider the following when assessing your personal risk.

Many people have been caught up in the fear being generated by Australia’s governments and the media. When we are stuck in “fight or flight” mode because we are frightened, it can be challenging to think clearly about the issues.

Government representatives have perpetuated misinformation and terror when they appear in the media telling people that the virus will kill them or that they would never want to be near an unvaccinated person.

Many have come to equate unvaccinated with infected, and they now fearfully endorse discrimination and segregation without fully thinking it through.

Assessing Your Risk

While any person can become infected with Covid-19, individual risk matters. There is substantial evidence that particular risk factors – from age to underlying health conditions – make a difference in whether you may experience the virus as a mild cold or end up in hospital.

Older age is the most significant risk factor, with the number of deaths among people over 65 in the United States being 80 times the death rate of those between the ages of 18 and 29. In Australia, the average age of people dying with Covid-19 is 84. This figure exceeds the average life expectancy by more than a year.

Comorbidities are those conditions that are present in a person alongside a particular disease – in this case, Covid-19. There are very specific comorbidities that increase the risk of hospitalisation and death, which may factor into your vaccination or lifestyle choices. These include (in no particular order):

  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Cancer

This study found that respiratory disorders only add a small risk to Covid-19 sufferers.

Reducing Your Risk

Currently, people are being told, “there is nothing we can do for you, just go home and wait” when they are Covid-19 positive. In fact, there are things you may be able to do. Ensuring you are at your absolute healthiest, losing weight, getting your blood sugars as stable as you can, keeping stress low, and making decisions about treatments and your quality of life are very important.

Too many people are being isolated and made overly fearful with a positive diagnosis. As such, it is also essential to know that if you are not in a high-risk category, while you need to monitor your symptoms, you are likely to recover from Covid without being seriously ill.

Be armed with the research. Here are a few references for further consideration:

Originally published at Debbie Garratt. Image by Fitsum Admasu at Unplash.

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