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Chart shows your risk of being seriously ill in hospital with COVID

Andy Wells
·Freelance Writer
·2 min read
A chart from the ZOE app shows the risks of being hospitalised with COVID. (ZOE/Getty)
A chart from the ZOE app shows the risks of being hospitalised with COVID. (ZOE/Getty)

Researchers have used data from millions of people to devise a chart that shows a person’s risk of being hospitalised with COVID.

The data is taken from the Zoe COVID Symptom Study app, where users give their location and other personal details alongside whether they have been tested for COVID and any symptoms they may be experiencing.

Researchers then use the data to determine which symptoms are likely to indicate COVID, and to give an estimate of who has the disease.

Paramedics prepare to lower a patient from an ambulance outside the emergency department of the Royal London Hospital in London, England, on January 26, 2021. Data from the UK's official statistics bodies revealed today that, based on death certificates, up to January 15 this year nearly 104,000 people have died with coronavirus since the pandemic began. Government figures, which are based on deaths within 28 days of a positive covid-19 test, remain slightly lower, yesterday standing at 98,531. (Photo by David Cliff/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Paramedics prepare to lower a patient from an ambulance outside the emergency department of the Royal London Hospital in London. (Getty)

Now researchers at King’s College London have used the data of symptoms – including a loss of smell and sudden confusion – to create a chart that will show who is most likely to become severely ill with COVID.

Users detailed their symptoms to the app and reported if they needed oxygen treatment in hospital.

Dr Claire Stevens, who led the research, found that counting up the number of symptoms experienced across the first five days of becoming ill, along with sex and age, could be used to predict whether someone is likely to end up needing oxygen support.

Watch: Long COVID symptoms may include parosmia

Using colour codes, the chart shows an increased level of risk for people in the various categories.

The research shows that a 50-year-old man with two symptoms in their first week of illness has a less than 25% chance of needing hospital treatment, compared to a more than 75% chance for a 60-year-old woman with 10 different symptoms in their first week.

The chart shows the risk of hospitalisation by age vs number of symptoms. (Zoe app)
The chart shows the risk of hospitalisation by age vs number of symptoms. (Zoe app)

The Zoe app also lists 15 main symptoms of the disease:

  • Loss of smell

  • High temperature (fever)

  • Persistent cough

  • Severe tiredness (fatigue)

  • Headache

  • Abdominal pain

  • Chest pain

  • Sore throat

  • Severe shortness of breath

  • Skipping meals

  • Muscle pains

  • Hoarse voice

  • New confusion (delirium)

  • Diarrhea

  • Skin rash

Researchers say anyone who finds themselves in the red or dark red zone of the chart should contact their doctor for more advice.

The Zoe data comes as data released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that In England, the percentage of people testing positive for coronavirus remained high but decreased slightly in the week ending 16 January, 2021.

The ONS estimates that 1,023,700 people in England had COVID during the period, equating to around 1 in 55 people.

The data also found that in the period between 12 and 17 January, the highest COVID rates were in London and the North East of England, while the lowest rates were seen in Yorkshire and the Humber.

Watch: What you can and can't do during England's third national lockdown