Coronavirus cases in the UK are on the rise, with the number of Covid-related deaths recently reaching its highest level since June.
Stricter measures are now in force around the country in an effort to bring infection rates back under control. England and Scotland have introduced a tiered local lockdown system, while Northern Ireland and Wales have put ‘circuit breaker’ and ‘firebreaker’ lockdowns in place, respectively.
With such high infection rates, the risk of being exposed to the virus has increased - particularly in certain parts of England, with rates in Merseyside, Lancashire and Nottinghamshire among the worst affected.
But what is the risk of developing a serious case of the virus if you do catch it?
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Calculating your ‘Covid-age’
The Association of Local Medical Advisors (ALAMA) has developed a method to calculate your so-called ‘Covid-age’, which indicates your vulnerability to Covid-19.
Evidence indicates that vulnerability to Covid-19 increases exponentially with age. For example, in comparison to a healthy person aged 20, a healthy person aged 60 has more than 30 times the risk of dying if they contract the virus.
In this context, your ‘age’ is based on various risk factors including age, sex, ethnicity and various health problems.
It works by ‘translating’ the risks into years, which are added to - or subtracted from - an individual’s actual age, to give a single overall measure of vulnerability.
ALAMA provided the following examples to indicate how it is calculated:
A healthy white woman, aged 40, has a Covid-age of (40-5) = 35 yearsA white man aged 45, BMI 36 with severe asthma, has a Covid-age of (45+13+11) = 69 yearsAn Asian woman aged 50 with Type 2 diabetes, unknown HbA1c, has a Covid-age of (50-5+5+20) = 70 years
Not 100% accurate
Calculating your Covid-age does not provide an exact measure, it is merely indicative of your vulnerability to developing a serious case of the virus.
The ‘age’ is not 100 per cent accurate, as each individual case of Covid-19 is different, and how you’re affected by the virus can depend on hundreds of other factors that are not included in the calculations.
It is, instead, intended as part of an occupational health assessment of fitness for work, and even if your Covid-age is low, you should continue to follow government safety guidelines.
How do I calculate my Covid-age?
To calculate your Covid-age, visit the ALAMA website and input your sex, age, ethnicity, BMI and any chronic health issues you may have into the form at the bottom of the page.
Once this data has been submitted, you will be given a sum which will show your result. It will include your age plus any years added due to the risk factors to give your Covid-age.
It will also show you the probability that, if you do become infected with Covid-19, how likely it is to be fatal.
A low Covid-age is considered to be under 50, moderate is 50 to 70, high is 70 to 85, and very high is 85 and above.