Why is it impossible to determine your personal COVID risk?

05/18/2022 12:06 PM | Anonymous

All of us want to do an individualized risk assessment to determine our personal COVID-19 risk.  Unfortunately, it's impossible to do. So, focus on risk reduction instead.  Think about what you can control and the evidence-based strategies:  wearing masks, getting vaccinated and boosted, avoiding indoor crowds, and improving ventilation.

Risk for scientists is a probability of a particular outcome.  Like if you flip a coin you have a 1 in 2 probability of it coming up heads.  Public health researchers say " the probability that an unvaccinated person will die of COVID-19 if they catch it is about 1 in 200, and as many as 1 in 8 people with COVID-19 will have symptoms persisting for weeks or months after recovering."

So how can you manage the RISK of COVID-19?  The answer is to do what you can.  If it is reasonable to wear a mask, wear one, even if it is not required. Take an at-home antigen test before you travel and after  you return or before you visit an unvaccinated grandchild.  Get vaccinated and boosted. Choose to meet friends and eat outdoors.  Open a window to improve ventilation.  In other words, do what you reasonably can do to manage your risk of catching COVID-19.

Read more at The Conversationa nonprofit organization working for the public good through fact- and research-based journalism.

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