Calculating Your Risk From Covid-19

The Government is encouraging everyone to ignore the risk from Covid-19. However, the risk is still there, and millions of people have found out the hard way that Covid-19 still matters. Read on for more.


 

Your Risk

There are three parts to your risk from Covid-19:

1. How likely are you to catch Covid-19?

You catch Covid-19 by breathing in virus particles breathed out by a person who is infected with Covid-19. These virus particles hang in the air until they are blown away by the wind or air movement. It is very important that you know how many infected people there are likely to be in your local town, supermarket, shop, or event, because the more infected people there are, the more virus there is in the air for you to breathe in.

You can find out how many infected people there are in Buckinghamshire in our weekly risk assessment articles.

2. How likely are you to be ill with Covid-19 immediately after catching it?

Everyone has a different risk of being ill immediately after catching Covid-19. Some people will be extremely ill, and may even die. Most people will be moderately unwell, but not need hospital treatment. Some people, particularly children and young people, may be hardly ill at all, or have no symptoms. It is impossible to predict how ill anyone will be immediately after catching Covid-19. Things that will affect how ill you are include:

  • Being vaccinated, which hugely reduces your risk
  • How old you are – generally, the older you are, the higher the risk
  • Your general health – generally, the less healthy you are, the higher the risk
  • Having an underlying medical condition, or being disabled – generally, having a medical condition or disability increases your risk
  • How many times you have caught Covid-19 before, which increases your risk

3. How likely are you to get a serious condition after catching Covid-19?

It is now medically proven that Covid-19 can cause serious damage to your body weeks or even months after you catch it. This damage can occur even if you were not very ill when you first caught Covid-19. The NHS calculates that about 1 in 10 people (10%) who catch Covid-19 go on to have long-term symptoms. Recent scientific data shows that the more times you catch Covid-19, the higher the risk of developing long-term symptoms or serious damage. The Government has chosen not to tell people about this third risk from Covid-19 for political reasons, but it is a very real risk which you need to take into account.

The serious conditions which Covid-19 can cause after catching it are sometimes known as “Post-Covid Syndrome” or “Long Covid”. Common symptoms include:

  • Extreme tiredness (fatigue)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain or tightness
  • Problems with memory and concentration (“brain fog”)
  • Difficulty sleeping (insomnia)
  • Heart palpitations
  • Dizziness
  • Pins and needles
  • Joint pain
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Tinnitus, earaches
  • Feeling sick, diarrhoea, stomach aches, loss of appetite
  • A high temperature, cough, headaches, sore throat, changes to sense of smell or taste
  • Rashes

More serious symptoms include:

  • Blood clots, which can cause a stroke, brain damage, heart attacks, and organ failure
  • Auto-immune conditions such as Type 1 diabetes, hepatitis, anaemia, Guillain-Barré syndrome etc
  • Making existing medical conditions worse, such as arthritis or rheumatoid arthritis
  • Direct damage to organs including the brain, liver, kidneys, pancreas, lungs etc

Scientists are still investigating these more serious conditions to try and work out exactly how Covid-19 causes them. However, the fact that there is a link between catching Covid-19 and later developing these serious conditions is now completely proven.


 

Will You Be Lucky Or Unlucky?

It is very difficult to predict whether you will be lucky, and not get seriously ill, or unlucky, and get seriously ill, when you catch Covid-19. Because of this, the safest thing is not to catch Covid-19 in the first place. However, many people are prepared to take the risk of catching Covid-19, because they think they will be lucky. Other people are not prepared to take the risk of catching Covid-19.


 

Covid-19 Isn’t Going Away

Covid-19 is a very determined virus. It rapidly mutates to make sure that it can continue to spread. New variants of the virus are occurring all over the world and spreading to countries that don’t have any border protection. People can often catch these new variants even if they have had an earlier variant. Also, the new variants evolve to get around the protection people might have from having caught Covid-19 before.

What this means for you is that Covid-19 is always going to be circulating in the population. It will probably circulate in waves – a new variant will spread and millions of people will catch it, then the levels of that variant will fall because it has run out of people to infect. However, we may have more than one variant circulating at the same time. This means that it is possible that millions of people will have Covid-19 all the time throughout the year, catching different variants two, three, or even four times over that year. This is exactly what happens with other coronaviruses, like the common cold and influenza. However, as we have said above, Covid-19 is much more dangerous than the cold or flu.

Because Covid-19 levels may always be high, this means you will always have to take precautions not to catch it.


 

What About Vaccination?

Vaccines are vitally important, and everyone should get vaccinated. Vaccines give essential protection against being critically ill with Covid-19 or dying of Covid-19. This protection lasts quite a long time, maybe up to a year.

Vaccines do not stop you catching Covid-19, being moderately ill with Covid-19 immediately after catching it, or developing long-term conditions weeks or months after catching Covid-19. Vaccines reduce the risk of these things happening to you, but do not get rid of that risk altogether. The protection that vaccines give you from catching Covid-19, being moderately ill with Covid-19 immediately after catching it, or developing long-term conditions weeks or months after catching Covid-19 wear off. 3-6 months after your last booster, you are probably as likely as an unvaccinated person to catch Covid-19, get moderately ill with Covid-19, or develop a long-term condition after catching Covid-19.


 

BuDS’ Advice

BuDS’ advice is for everyone, whatever their age, medical conditions, disability, or circumstances, to avoid catching Covid-19. This is because, sooner or later, you will be unlucky and become seriously ill with Covid-19 or develop long-term symptoms after catching Covid-19. It is impossible to predict who will be unlucky and when, which is why we recommend everyone should take sensible precautions against catching Covid-19. To learn more about these sensible precautions, click here.


We Are Here To Help!

BuDS can help you by answering questions, providing information, helping you find practical support or help in a crisis or being a friendly voice if you’re lonely or isolated. If you’d like any help or support from us, message us through social media, e-mail buds-support@buds.org.uk or leave us a voicemail on 01494 211179. We’ll do our very best to help you.