The United States’ rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations has been impressive. As of May 2021, 50% of American adults have been at least partially vaccinated against the disease. Unfortunately, the pandemic risks continue, but using a COVID genetic prediction test may help.
Herd immunity requires 70% to 85% of a population to be vaccinated. Since reaching the 50% mark, there has been a noticeable decline in demand for vaccine shots. If holdouts maintain their hesitancy, the US will not achieve their goal of herd immunity. Despite these issues, many states have already listed safety restrictions. Social distancing in public spaces is on its way out. In a population with only partial protection against the virus, these conditions allow highly contagious and (eventually) vaccine-resistance variants to spread.
COVID Risks Abroad
The pandemic’s future is not only a domestic issue. Despite its issues with vaccine hesitancy, America is blessed to have a guaranteed supply of the vaccine for every citizen. Not every country can say the same. At current rates, there are parts of Eastern Europe, Asia, Latin America, and Africa who will not reach 70% vaccination until 2023. The slow pace of vaccination and continued spread of disease creates a huge problem: 2 in 3 epidemiologists agree that viral mutations will render first-generation vaccines ineffective by 2022. By the time most of the globe has been vaccinated, COVID-19 will have evolved beyond the vaccines. Another round of mass vaccination will be necessary, and unless the pace speeds up considerably, this cycle will become entrenched.
The news is worrying for everyone, but those with higher risk have even more to fear. A wide variety of health conditions have been associated with increased risk of coronavirus infection and severe symptoms. The conditions are numerous and impact millions: cancer, chronic lung disease, diabetes, obesity, and even pregnancy are factors that can complicate a patient’s COVID-19 risk. For as long as the future is uncertain, individuals should take precautions based on their own risk level. The majority of people ought to maintain routine precautions like washing their hands consistently and wearing their masks in certain spaces.
Those with one or more health factors putting them at high risk may want to continue social distancing and avoiding crowds. By understanding individual risk, precautions can be targeted to those in need. People can decide for themselves how much risk they are willing to face. In an individualist culture such as America’s, this approach can be a far easier sell than mass lockdowns.
How to Determine Your Risk
That leaves only one problem: how does one determine their individual risk level? Not everyone with a health condition listed above will develop severe COVID-19 if infected. Furthermore, as many as 1 in 4 adults could be incorrectly categorized for their risk of developing extreme symptoms. A tool that can fix this problem is a genetic risk assessment kit. This kit can be taken at home, and it improves risk prediction by 25% over standard clinical trials by considering 16 genetic markers and comorbidities. Users can receive their personal risk score and a detailed report within 5-7 days.