What risk does COVID-19 pose?

In general, the risk posed by a virus depends on many factors including how easily it spreads between people, the severity of illness it causes, and access to reliable medical measures that can help control its impact (e.g., vaccines or medications).

COVID-19 can pose a risk to you by two means: risk of exposure and risk of serious illness.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2021. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/healthfeature/gethealthfeature/COVID-19-Risk-Assessment

Risk of exposure

While the overall risk of getting COVID-19 remains high for all Canadians, some people may be at greater risk than others. Your risk is greater than others if:

  • you work in close contact with many individuals
  • you live in a group setting where the virus may spread more easily (e.g., nursing homes, correctional facilities, or group residences)
  • you face barriers that limit your ability to follow the effective public health measures to protect yourself (e.g., people with disabilities needing to use services in non-accessible environments)

Even if you don't belong to any of the above groups, your risk can increase if:

  • you don't maintain physical distancing and mask-wearing, especially in settings where the risk of respiratory droplets or aerosol transmission is high (e.g., closed spaces, crowded places and close-contact situations)
  • you do not wash your hands often with soap and water or use hand sanitizer to maintain hand hygiene

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2021. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/healthfeature/gethealthfeature/COVID-19-Risk-Assessment

Risk of severe illness

From current reported cases of COVID-19, its symptoms may range from little-to-no symptoms to severe illness and death. Most cases are not severe, but certain people are at a higher risk of developing complications, including:

  • Adults aged 50 and older (risk increasing by age)
  • People who have underlying chronic medical conditions (including heart disease, diabetes, lung disease)
  • People with weakened immune systems
  • People who are living with obesity, with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2021. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/healthfeature/gethealthfeature/COVID-19-Risk-Assessment

Are other special populations more at risk?

  • Children: Children do not appear to be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 than adults. That said, children with underlying medical conditions (including obesity and asthma) can be at higher risk for severe complications.
  • Pregnancy: With other coronaviruses and viral respiratory infections, pregnant women have had a higher risk of developing serious illness. There's currently no evidence to suggest that pregnancy in general poses a greater risk for severe illness from COVID-19. However, if pregnant individuals also have a pre-existing health condition including obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure or became pregnant at an older age (i.e. after age 35), then they may be at a higher risk of more severe disease. While current evidence shows that COVID-19 transmission to the baby during pregnancy is rare, further studies are being done.
  • Breast-feeding: Current evidence suggests that COVID-19 isn't transmitted via breastmilk. That said, the decision to continue or start breast-feeding should be discussed with your health care providers. Taking precautions while breast-feeding can help to lower the overall infection risk. This includes washing your hands frequently and sterilizing any breast-feeding equipment before and after each session.

While knowledge and understanding around COVID-19 is rapidly changing, these are important practices aimed at reducing the impact of COVID-19. It is important to stay mindful of your exposure and the risk posed by COVID-19 to yourself and others.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2021. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/healthfeature/gethealthfeature/COVID-19-Risk-Assessment