Akash’s COVID Corner: How Dangerous is COVID-19?

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COVID-19 has wreaked havoc in 2020, but how dangerous is it really?

For most people, it probably seems like every week a new death rate is released for COVID-19. Most of them come with some kind of additional information, like death rate with underlying conditions or based on age. Between those trying to exaggerate the virus and those trying to downplay it, it’s hard to know how dangerous COVID-19 really is for the average person. In reality, for those between zero and 45 with no underlying conditions, the death rate is close to zero percent. However, it is important to realize that there is still a very large percentage of the population that is at high risk, and just because the death rate is close to zero does not mean a healthy person cannot die. It remains important to follow guidelines so that you don’t contract the virus and spread it to those people.

About 60 percent of the US population is between the ages of zero and 45, according to the 2010 United States census bureau, and of that group, about 60 percent have a condition that would increase the severity of COVID-19. This means that only about a quarter of the population falls into the ‘safe’ group, (which are those between zero and 45 with no underlying conditions) and the other almost 250 million Americans are considered to be at an increased risk. Most other countries don’t even have a total population as large as this, and most don’t even come close. Any time you go to a public area you are statistically very likely to come into contact with somebody in a risk group, and if you are not following proper guidelines you will likely spread it to them. That being said, there is a wide range of conditions within these risk groups, and some are way more severe than others, but anyone with an underlying condition is at risk if they do contract COVID-19.

The average amount of underlying conditions that somebody has when they die from COVID-19 is 2.6. This may seem like a lot, but when you take into account that these conditions can include things like age, obesity, and being a smoker, it becomes clear how people can have multiple of these. There is also a large variance in how much a condition increases your risk. In terms of age, the risk of hospitalization is almost 4 times higher in those 85+ compared to those 50-65. Underlying conditions are the most important thing to look at when talking about the risk of COVID-19, and most people may be more at risk than they think.

While COVID-19 is not a huge danger for those who aren’t in a risk group, it’s important to understand that most people have at least some increased risk. It’s also important to understand that there is a big difference in how much your risk is increased depending on your condition, and so you shouldn’t overly worry if you are considered “at risk.” Just make sure to stay cautious and don’t take unnecessary risks like going out when you don’t really need to. Always follow guidelines because even though you may not have symptoms, you could give it to somebody who will.