Older people underestimating Covid risk, US survey finds
At least 1 in 2 Americans over 75 is putting themselves at risk of getting Covid-19, a new study has found.
The research by CV19 CheckUp, found that 58 per cent of people surveyed are engaging in unsafe behaviours, while 53 per cent underestimate their risk of hospitalisation.
CV19 CheckUp is a service powered by artificial intelligence and provided by BellAge, a public benefit enterprise. It's currently being used by the governments of New York, Florida, Michigan, Los Angeles, and St. Louis.
The website asks users to complete an online questionnaire about their behaviours relating to Covid-19. The system then uses AI to assess each person’s risks, and provide recommendations to reduce these.
BellAge data scientists combined the responses of people aged 60 and older to produce a sample size of almost 10,000 older adults. Their analysis produced three important findings:
- 52.9 per cent of people aged 75 and older (including 66 per cent of men in that age group) underestimate their risk of severe consequences from Covid-19.
- 34 per cent of all people aged 60 to 74 underestimate their risk of severe consequences from the virus
- Both groups of people behave in ways that are less safe than people of the same ages who understand the risks
People aged over 75 have a higher chance of requiring hospitalisation if they are diagnosed with Covid-19; additionally mortality rates are higher among older adults. However responses to CV19 CheckUp show that the majority of people in this age group behave as if they weren't at risk, and have many "blind spots":
- 20.4 per cent engage in unsafe behaviours such as not wearing masks or not social distancing when meeting people outside their household
- 32.5 per cent go to risky places (indoors at restaurants, church, the gym, or bars)
- 26.3 per cent score high on risky contacts (close contact with too many people)
- 20.8 per cent had two or more high risk scores (including 18.7 per cent who said they eat indoors at restaurants, and 15.6 per cent attend religious services indoors)
The CV19 CheckUp report also states that while people aged 75 and over are being prioritised to be vaccinated, it will be months before they are able to get their first dose of the vaccine. Meanwhile the virus continues to spread throughout the US.
The study concludes that a coordinated national response is needed to ensure that older adults know what their actual risks from contracting the virus are, receive personal guidance on how to do what they want to do safely, and that younger people understand the threat they pose to high-risk people, and minimise their contact with them.
Zoom enters the healthcare market - a timeline
Since the pandemic began Zoom has become an integral part of daily life for people working from home, as well as a vital tool for families and friends to communicate. However it's also been eyeing up the healthcare space since 2017, and following the boom in telehealth the company has been rolling out additional services. Here we chart Zoom's move into healthcare.
2011 - 2013
Zoom is founded in San Jose, California, by Eric Yuan, formerly of Cisco. He got the idea to create a video calling platform from his visits to his girlfriend while he was a student, which would take 10 hours by train.
A beta version is released in 2012, which can host up to 15 participants. In 2013 this rises to 25. By mid-2013, Zoom has 1 million users.
2014 - 2017
Zoom attracts investors, including Sequoia Capital, Emergence and Horizon Ventures. By January 2017, Zoom has a series D funding worth $100 million.
2017 - 2019
Zoom for Telehealth launches, including an integration with EHR system Epic. It has cloud-based video, audio, and content sharing features, a "waiting room" for patients, and can easily be integrated into healthcare provider's workflows.
In 2019 Zoom goes public, with its IPO rising 72% in one day.
As a result of the pandemic, Zoom gains 2.2 million new users, more than in the whole of 2019. On the 23rd of March alone - the day the UK lockdown was announced - the platform was downloaded 2.13 million times around the world.
Share prices rise to around $150, and founder and chief executive Eric Yuan becomes one of the world's richest people, with an estimated net worth of $7.9 billion.
Early security issues are addressed by encrypting data with the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). By now the the platform allows 99 people to be on a call simultaneously
New features launch, including Zoom Home and Zoom for Chats. Throughout the year the platform is used to replace most kinds of real life events: work meetings, online classrooms, church services and social events.
Renamed Zoom for Healthcare, users can share secured video, audio, and content through desktops, mobile phones, and conference devices. As well as Epic, it can be integrated with Strmr, IntakeQ, and Practice Better.
It can also be used with diagnostic cameras and other point-of-care devices, including digital stethoscopes.
In an interview with Korea Biomedical Review, Zoom Global Healthcare Lead Ron Emerson said: "Our service is not simply a virtual care and telemedicine platform but a multi-purpose platform that can satisfy the needs of healthcare institutions."
"It can be used for administrative tasks, including telemedicine, medical team meetings, recruitment, medical education, employee training, and disease prevention. Analysing electronic records managed by Zoom could provide meaningful insights into patient care."
Phoenix Children's Hospital, Belfast's Hospital Services Limited, Butler Health Services and the global Project ECHO are among Zoom for Healthcare's current customers.