In the early days of the virus in the UK, it was quickly identified that some groups of individuals would be more at risk of COVID-19 than others.
The Government, along with Public Health England, drew up different categories of people at risk, which are outlined on the next slide.
High risk – individuals for whom any of the following are applicable:
- Organ transplant recipients
- Having chemotherapy or antibody treatment for cancer including immunotherapy
- Having an intense course of radiotherapy for lung cancer
- Having cancer treatment that can impact the immune system
- Have blood or bone marrow cancer (including those who have had it in the past six months and/or who are still taking immunosuppressant medication)
- Have a severe lung condition such as cystic fibrosis, severe asthma, or COPD (coronary obstructive pulmonary disorder)
- Have a condition which makes them at high risk of infection such as sickle cell
- Taking medication that makes it more likely to get infections such as high doses of steroids
- Have a severe heart condition and are pregnant.
Individuals who are in this category should shield themselves – this means that they should not go out of their home at all and should have any necessities such as food and medicine delivered to them. They also should not have any visitors to their home.
Moderate risk – individuals for whom any of the following are applicable:
- Aged 70 or older
- Pregnancy (this has been revisited and some studies subsequently suggest that the risk is not higher)
- Have a non-severe lung condition such as asthma or bronchitis
- Have heart disease
- Have diabetes (recent data shows that this may be a severe risk as it is linked to the death of a high number of individuals)
- Have chronic kidney disease
- Have a form of liver disease
- Have a condition that affects the brain or nerves such as Parkinson’s disease
- Have a condition that increases the risk of getting infections
- Are taking medication that impacts the immune system
- Are very obese with a BMI of 40 or above.
Individuals who are at moderate risk should follow social distancing advice and stay at home as much as possible. They can go to work but should work from home where possible and make only necessary trips outdoors such as for food shopping once a week.