Individual and Community Risk

Angie SzumlinskiHealth, Studies

The first case of SARS-CoV-2 infection in the United States was reported on January 20, 2020 in the state of Washington and to date, the pandemic has led to more than 240,000 COVID-19 deaths, making the United States by far the most affected country globally. To date, the United States and other countries have mostly relied on community-based intervention measures, such as lockdowns, social distancing, and guidance on mask-wearing, for mitigating the worst effects of the pandemic.

A variety of predisposing factors are known, however, there has been limited effort to incorporate these factors into prevention strategies and/or forecasting models. In the future, as the United States and other countries continue to face increasing societal and economic pressure for relaxing some of the broad intervention measures, consideration of risk associated with predisposing factors for individuals and at the population level will be important for developing more equitable strategies for prevention. Naturemedicine published a research project where a general population risk calculator for COVID-19 mortality was developed. This calculator takes into account sociodemographic factors and pre-existing conditions and combines this with information from the UK-based OpenSAFELY study. As we continue to work through social distancing and limited access to “life as we have known it”, it is comforting to know that there are researchers continuing to look for answers. We will eventually return to a new sense of normal with a new set of rules and societal responsibilities. We can do it, we have proven that so stay the course, stay well, mask up, and stay tuned!