Australian COVID-19 Susceptibility Index

Australian COVID-19 Susceptibility Index

By May 11, 2020News

The COVID-19 Susceptibility Index models the Australian population against their susceptibility of developing severe symptoms of COVID-19, based on unique geographic and demographic data.

COVID-19 Susceptibility Index

The Susceptibility Index does not show the risk of an outbreak in a postcode. It does show the risk that a high proportion of the people who live there will suffer severe symptoms from COVID-19 if they become infected.

Existing research shows that COVID-19 has different effects on segments of the population depending on age and co-morbidity. Understanding the demographics of the Australian population can reduce the risks associated with opening up the economy through identifying who and where are the most vulnerable among us. The new Susceptibility Index developed by actuarial and analytics consulting firm, Finity in collaboration with the School of Risk and Actuarial Studies at UNSW addresses this need based on unique depth of data.

Finity Principal, Aaron Cutter believes, “Most of the currently available information looks at where COVID-19 cases have been identified and what attributes affect poorer outcomes, whereas our study asks a different question: where are the communities that have higher or lower than average susceptibility to infection, what is driving that result, and what other sociodemographic attributes of people in those areas could influence how the government approaches increased economic activity?”

The index adds a new depth of data used to score the local communities. It includes significant co-morbidities (age, cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and lung disease) and actual known multi-dimensional characteristics of individuals in households to develop a susceptibility index. The dashboard highlights local postcode ‘red zones’ (clusters of co-morbidity risk factors that may have greater potential for severe illness in the case of an outbreak) across the country and could help target specific geographic areas and demographic segments for additional measures to protect citizens as we open up the economy.

“The results are preliminary, but show that while the initial wave of COVID-19 cases was concentrated around capital cities due to population density plus proximity to cruise ships and international airports, these areas consist of lower proportions of highly susceptible individuals compared to the rest of Australia.”

“The Index reveals that regional areas actually have greater susceptibility - not only because of age, but due to a number of other key characteristics. As Australia’s COVID journey matures, this preliminary information can assist attempts to model the pandemic’s development as well as help inform decisions regarding preventative measures,” said Mr Cutter.

 To access Finity’s COVID-19 Susceptibility Index visit here.

 A high average risk score does not mean that people who reside in the area are more susceptible to catching COVID. Instead, it reflects how many people have long term illnesses in the community and are therefore more susceptible to severe illness if they have the disease. Conversely, if the average risk is low, that does not mean that there are no susceptible individuals in your postcode.

 Individuals with co-morbidities or symptoms associated with COVID-19 should follow the government advice and take extra pre-cautions which can be found here.