How severe is coronavirus?

Who is at high risk of coronavirus?

How can I help?

Who is the government using as experts to advise their decisions?

What are the risks of coronavirus for specific medical conditions?

How severe is coronavirus? (taken from site)

The majority of people with COVID-19 have recovered without the need for any specific treatment, as is the case for the common cold or seasonal flu. We expect that the vast majority of cases will best be managed at home, again as with seasonal colds and flu.

Who is at high risk of coronavirus? (taken from NHS site)

You may be at a particularly high risk of getting seriously ill with coronavirus if you:

  • have had an organ transplant and are taking immunosuppressant medicine

  • are having chemotherapy or radiotherapy

  • have blood or bone marrow cancer, such as leukaemia

  • have a severe chest condition, such as cystic fibrosis or severe asthma

  • have another serious health condition

How can I help? (taken from site)

The role the public can play in supporting this response

Everyone can help support the UK’s response by:

  • following public health authorities’ advice, for example on hand washing

  • reducing the impact and spread of misinformation by relying on information from trusted sources, such as that on,,, and

  • checking and following the latest FCO travel advice when travelling and planning to travel

  • ensuring you and your family’s vaccinations are up to date as this will help reduce the pressure on the NHS/HSCNI through reducing vaccine-preventable diseases

  • checking on elderly or vulnerable family, friends and neighbours

  • using NHS 111 (or NHS 24 in Scotland or NHS Direct Wales) (including online, where possible), pharmacies and GPs responsibly, and go to the hospital only when you really need to. This is further explained on the NHS website: When to go to A&E and Choose Well Wales

  • being understanding of the pressures the health and social care systems may be under, and receptive to changes that may be needed to the provision of care to you and your family.

  • accepting that the advice for managing COVID-19 for most people will be self-isolation at home and simple over-the-counter medicines

  • checking for new advice as the situation changes

Who is the government using as experts to advise their decisions? (taken from site)

The UK government and the devolved administrations have ensured that all of our actions are based on the best possible evidence, and are guided by the 4 UK CMOs [Chief Medical Officers].

The UK health departments’ preparations and response are developed with expert advice, ensuring that staff, patients and the wider public can be confident that our plans are developed and implemented using the best available evidence. These groups include:

  • the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) – chaired by the Government Chief Scientific Adviser and co-chaired by the CMO for England – provides scientific and technical advice to support government decision makers during emergencies, ensuring that timely and co-ordinated scientific advice is made available to decision makers to support UK cross-government decisions in the UK Cabinet Office Briefing Room

  • the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG) is an expert committee of DHSC and advises the CMOs and, through the CMOs, ministers, DHSC and other government departments, and the devolved administrations. It provides scientific risk assessment and mitigation advice on the threat posed by new and emerging respiratory virus threats and on options for their management

  • the Advisory Committee on Dangerous Pathogens (ACDP) provides independent scientific advice to the Health and Safety Executive, to ministers in DHSC and DEFRA, and to their counterparts in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland on all aspects of hazards and risks to workers and others from exposure to pathogens

  • the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling (SPI-M) gives expert advice to DHSC and wider UK government and the devolved administrations on scientific matters relating to the UK’s response to an influenza pandemic (or other emerging human infectious disease threats). The advice is based on infectious disease modelling and epidemiology

  • the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advises UK health departments on immunisation

  • FCO Travel Advice is informed by PHE and DHSC advice and gives British nationals advice on what they need to know before deciding whether to travel and what to do if they are affected by an outbreak of COVID-19 while travelling

The actions we are taking to tackle the COVID-19 outbreak are being informed by the advice of these committees.

What are the risks of coronavirus for specific medical conditions?

Specific Medical Conditions page

What should I say to my child about coronavirus?

Remain calm and reassuring.

  • Remember that children will react to both what you say and how you say it. They will pick up cues from the conversations you have with them and with others.

Make yourself available to listen and to talk.

  • Make time to talk. Be sure children know they can come to you when they have questions.

Avoid language that might blame others and lead to stigma.

  • Remember that viruses can make anyone sick, regardless of a person’s race or ethnicity. Avoid making assumptions about who might have COVID-19.

Pay attention to what children see or hear on television, radio, or online.

  • Consider reducing the amount of screen time focused on COVID-19. Too much information on one topic can lead to anxiety.

Provide information that is honest and accurate.

  • Give children information that is truthful and appropriate for the age and developmental level of the child.

  • Talk to children about how some stories on COVID-19 on the Internet and social media may be based on rumors and inaccurate information.

Teach children everyday actions to reduce the spread of germs.

  • Remind children to stay away from people who are coughing or sneezing or sick.

  • Remind them to cough or sneeze into a tissue or their elbow, then throw the tissue into the trash.

  • Discuss any new actions taken at school to help protect children and school staff. (e.g., increased handwashing, cancellation of events or activities)

  • Get children into a handwashing habit.

    • Teach them to wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing their nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food.

    • If soap and water are not available, teach them to use hand sanitizer. Hand sanitizer should contain at least 60% alcohol. Supervise young children when they use hand sanitizer to prevent swallowing alcohol, especially in schools and childcare facilities.

Facts about COVID-19 for discussions with children

Try to keep information simple and remind them that health and school officials are working hard to keep everyone safe and healthy.

What is COVID-19?

  • COVID-19 is the short name for “coronavirus disease 2019.” It is a new virus. Doctors and scientists are still learning about it.

  • Recently, this virus has made a lot of people sick. Scientists and doctors think that most people will be ok, especially kids, but some people might get pretty sick.

  • Doctors and health experts are working hard to help people stay healthy.

What can I do so that I don’t get COVID-19?

  • You can practice healthy habits at home, school, and play to help protect against the spread of COVID-19:

    • Cough or sneeze into a tissue or your elbow. If you sneeze or cough into a tissue, throw it in the trash right away.

    • Keep your hands out of your mouth, nose, and eyes. This will help keep germs out of your body.

    • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Follow these five steps—wet, lather (make bubbles), scrub (rub together), rinse and dry. You can sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice.

    • If you don’t have soap and water, have an adult help you use a special hand cleaner.

    • Keep things clean. Older children can help adults at home and school clean the things we touch the most, like desks, doorknobs, light switches, and remote controls. (Note for adults: you can find more information about cleaning and disinfecting on CDC’s website.)

    • If you feel sick, stay home. Just like you don’t want to get other people’s germs in your body, other people don’t want to get your germs either.

What happens if you get sick with COVID-19?

  • COVID-19 can look different in different people. For many people, being sick with COVID-19 would be a little bit like having the flu. People can get a fever, cough, or have a hard time taking deep breaths. Most people who have gotten COVID-19 have not gotten very sick. Only a small group of people who get it have had more serious problems. From what doctors have seen so far, most children don’t seem to get very sick. While a lot of adults get sick, most adults get better.

  • If you do get sick, it doesn’t mean you have COVID-19. People can get sick from all kinds of germs. What’s important to remember is that if you do get sick, the adults at home and school will help get you any help that you need.

  • If you suspect your child may have COVID-19, call the healthcare facility to let them know before you bring your child in to see them.

Should I use a facemask?

There isn’t enough evidence to show how effective facemasks are in preventing the wearer being infected by coronavirus. For people living with a lung condition wearing a facemask can make breathing more difficult.