An easy-to-use score for predicting the risk of death from Covid-19 could be used by medics to decide on the best form of care for patients, a pioneering new study has found.

The 4C (Coronavirus Clinical Characterisation Consortium) Mortality Score uses readily available data to accurately categorise patients as being at low, intermediate, high, or very high risk.

If taken up by the NHS the study could be used to help health professionals ‘target’ the most appropriate form of treatment for particular groups, whether hospital or home based.

The authors (led by Prof Calum Semple) say that as hospitals around the world faced an influx of patients with Covid-19, there is an urgent need for a tool to identify those at highest risk of death to help decide on the best treatment and use of resources.

They found most existing prognostic score methods have shown “moderate performance at best and no benefit to clinical decision-making”.

Prof Semple told the Telegraph: “This is an aid which can be used by doctors to decide what sort of treatment and level of care a patient needs. As a group of doctors with friends and family affected by Covid, we feel that it would be a very useful tool and is something that should absolutely be adopted by the NHS.”

It comes as a separate study of deaths in England and Wales found that for people over-55 the risk of dying from Covid-19 is slightly more than their “normal” risk of death from all other causes. This rises with age so that, for example, as the risk of death doubles for a 67-year-old man.

However, it found the risk plummets sharply for younger people, with school children experiencing just two days extra risk of contracting and dying of Covid-19, making the virus predominantly “a disease of the elderly”.

British statistician Sir David Spiegelhalter found that the death rate during a 16 week period between 7 March and 26 June 2020 (during the height of the pandemic’s first wave) was around 12-13 per cent higher for each year the patients were older.

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