The mutated strain of coronavirus has caused much chaos and confusion since it was discovered in Kent back in November. The UK government was forced to make a policy u-turn days before Christmas after it was established that the strain is far more transmissible than the older variant. Government officials assured the public that the virus was no more deadly than the previous mutation but new evidence suggests it may be up to 30 percent more deadly.
Clinical research colleagues at King’s College London, led by Dr Claire Steves, have also used the data to develop a simple chart to identify who is most likely to end up severely ill in hospital with COVID-19, requiring oxygen and other treatments, at just the fifth day into their illness.
Dr Steves and her team have found that counting up the number of symptoms experienced over the first five days of illness, along with sex and age, could be used to predict whether someone is likely to end up in needing oxygen support in hospital.
The findings from Claire and her team are summarised in charts, known as nomograms.
They’re a simple way of showing how three things – age, sex and symptoms – affected the chances of needing oxygen treatment for COVID-19 during the first wave of the pandemic.
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What did they find out?
Dr Steves found that, for a 50-year-old man with just two symptoms in their first week, their chance of needing hospital treatment was low (less than 25 percent).
But a 60-year-old woman with 10 different symptoms in their first week, then they were at very high risk, with a more than 75 percent chance of needing oxygen later on.
“It’s important to remember that these are predictions based on data from the first wave, and may not relate specifically to you,” the app’s researchers noted.
“Wherever you fall on the chart, if you are struggling to breathe, have pain in your chest, become very confused or drowsy or your lips or face are turning blue, you should call an ambulance.”
Anyone in your support bubble should also stay at home if you have been in close contact with them since your symptoms started or during the 48 hours before they started.
A support bubble is where someone who lives alone (or just with their children) can meet people from one other household.
Use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service if:
- You’re worried about your symptoms
- You’re not sure what to do.
- really tried cannot properly think