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Dr Rawal urges people to ‘flip the stats’ and focus on positive news

Those in the over 70 age bracket and, therefore, most vulnerable to the effects of Covid-19 still face only an 8% chance that they will come to harm from the virus, Acting Medical Director Dr Krishna Rawal said yesterday, as he urged the community not to dwell on negative statistics. 

Statistics show that those in their 20s and 30s face less than half a percent chance of coming to harm as a result of Covid-19, while the risk rises to 8% for those aged over 70. 

“That may sound high in comparison to those who are in their 20s or 30s but let’s try and flip these figures around a little bit,” Dr Rawal said. 

“It's almost like human psychology perhaps to focus on the negative but there is a positive to this now which is that if you have an 8% chance of coming to harm there’s a 92% chance that you will not come to harm.” 

“And the majority of that chance is that you will not even know that you’ve had it,” he said.  

“We’ve had many people out there who have had it and we’ve had social media coverage of people who are over 70, over 80 in fact, who yes they may have sought medical services but they are now fit and well and they are immune.” 

Speaking at the 4pm press conference yesterday, Dr Rawal said data collated so far shows that the virus has a prevalence of around 3% in the community. 

Most of these people will be asymptomatic. 

There were seven new cases of the virus on Wednesday, bringing the total up to 120 from 113 on Tuesday. 

Half of those confirmed cases have however fully recovered. 

There are currently 287 swab results pending. 

Acknowledging a delay in the return of some of these results - some people have been waiting for six days without results - Dr Rawal explained that Spain, where the swabs are analysed, is still experiencing a very significant peak in Covid-19 and its laboratories are “working around the clock”, leading to a lag. 

“For those of you who have had swabs and feel that [the results] have been a few extra days, five or six days delayed, I am very sorry,” he said.

“We are of course absolutely aware of those and we’ll let you know your results as soon as we can but there is an understandable delay sometimes with these swabs.” 

“But, of course, the message is if you have continuing symptoms ring the 111 line and seek further information and inform the person on the other end that you’ve had a swab but you’re pending your result.” 

Dr Rawal also urged the community to use this time to focus on other health aspects including lifestyle, diet and stopping smoking. 

“Let's focus on keeping healthy so that when this crisis is over and we walk out the doors we are better, we are stronger and we are fitter than when we started,” he said. 

Dr Rawal added that evidence was mounting in respect of smoking. 

“Nicotine itself actually stimulates cell entry for the Covid-19 virus and that’s quite important because viruses live within the cells and cause harm from that way.” 

“So please whilst you’re at home please try and concentrate on this one.” 

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