FAQs for The C-19 Vulnerability Survey

What is it?

The COVID-19 Vulnerability Survey (C-19 Vulnerability Survey) is a survey, designed for use by adults, that asks a short series of questions and calculates an individual’s vulnerability to severe illness from COVID-19.

The Survey does not predict whether a person will actually get coronavirus. Instead, it calculates a person’s vulnerability to severe illness should they contract COVID-19 and compares it to the average vulnerability for adults with no known risk factors.

How does It work?

The survey asks a short series of questions and calculates an individual’s vulnerability to severe illness from COVID-19. Since everyone is susceptible to the virus, a person without any known risk factors is scored as having ‘Normal Vulnerability’. Adding risk factors increases one’s Vulnerability Score. The final score calculates a person’s ‘Increased Vulnerability’ relative to an adult with no known risk factors and shows the degree to which they are more vulnerable than the rest of the population.

The tool also includes a brief set of questions asking whether they have experienced any recent symptoms known to be consistent with COVID-19 infection. This information, when combined with the Vulnerability Score, can be especially useful when communicating with providers or loved ones.

Who can use It?

The C-19 Vulnerability Survey is designed for use by adults. It is not intended for use by people under the age of 18.

What do the scores mean?

The survey calculates a person’s vulnerability to serious illness from COVID-19 as compared to an adult with no known risk factors and the degree to which they are more vulnerable than the rest of the population.

Since everyone is susceptible to the virus, a person without any known risk factors is scored as having ‘Normal Vulnerability’. Adding risk factors increases the Vulnerability Score.

Does a low score mean I can’t get COVID-19?

No. Everyone is susceptible to the virus, including people without known risk factors.

Does a low score mean I won’t have a serious illness if I become infected with COVID-19?

No. People without known risk factors can become seriously ill.

This survey does not reflect every risk factor for COVID-19 and scientists are learning more about the virus every day.

What does getting a high score mean?

A high score reflects that a person is more vulnerable to serious illness. It is intended to be used as a tool to help individuals who are more vulnerable safeguard their health.

Why not just give everyone the same score?

The CDC guidelines for COVID-19 state that older adults and people of any age with certain health conditions may have a higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19. These criteria are helpful, but they don’t reflect differences between individuals or
identify the extent of a person’s vulnerability.

People with the same chronic condition don’t necessarily have the same risk, and many people with a particular condition also have other comorbidities, which compounds their vulnerability.

The need to focus on the vulnerable was highlighted recently by Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House Coronovirus Coordinator, who spoke to the need to identify the most vulnerable individuals.

Can my score ever change?

It is possible that your score could change. Since your score reflects your responses to the survey, it could change if you give different answers. Your score could also change if the Survey is updated.

As more is learned about the COVID-19 virus and the underlying risk factors that make people vulnerable to serious illness, the survey itself may change, which could include the underlying scoring methods as well as the questions being asked.

Can I create a score for someone else?

Yes. The C-19 Vulnerability Survey is a tool designed to help you understand whether you or a loved one has heightened vulnerability to severe illness from COVID-19.

What should I do with my score?

The aim is to provide a more complete view into vulnerability and provide a tool you can use as you mobilize resources to protect yourself and your family.

For vulnerable individuals, protecting their health often include efforts to:

  • Educate. Talk with them about COVID-19
  • Promote safe practices. Make sure they know how to protect themselves
  • Ensure supplies. Make sure they have key household items
  • Create a care plan. Create a plan to monitor their health and contact providers
  • Look for additional challenges. Help resolve challenges if they are isolated, face housing or transportation issues, or have lower incomes
  • Be present / check-in. Be a reliable resource

Doesn’t this already exist?

To our knowledge, this is the first tool that has been made available to individuals that helps people gain a deeper understanding of what creates heightened vulnerability to severe illness and a more complete view into their own vulnerability or that of a loved one.

Everyone is worried about someone. Hopefully, this tool will help people mobilize resources that safeguard their health and the health of their families.

Can’t I just use the CDC Guidelines?

The CDC guidelines for COVID-19 state that older adults and people of any age with certain health conditions may have a higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19. These criteria are helpful, but they don’t reflect differences between individuals or identify the extent of a person’s vulnerability.

People with the same chronic condition don’t necessarily have the same risk, and many people with a particular condition also have other comorbidities, which compounds their vulnerability.

How does this compare with the CDC’s guidelines?

The C-19 Vulnerability Survey combines risk factors in the CDC guidelines (e.g. heart disease), other known risk factors for poor respiratory infection outcomes (e.g. cystic fibrosis), and factors learned directly from data using AI-based machine learning to develop the C-19 Index. Taken together, these factors form the basis of questions that are used to assess an individual’s vulnerability to severe complications from COVID-19.

How is this different from a symptom checker?

The main purpose of the C-19 Vulnerability Survey is to assess an individual’s vulnerability to serious illness from COVID-19, should they become infected.

For people worried about whether they or a loved one may have contracted COVID-19, the tool also includes a Symptom Checker, with a list of early symptoms that can appear within 2-14 days after exposure to COVID-19.

It is included with the C-19 Vulnerability Survey to support conversations people may have with their physician, care team or caregivers.

Do my answers to the symptom checker affect my score?

No. Your responses to the Symptom Checker do not affect your C-19 Vulnerability Score. The Symptom Checker is not a diagnosis of COVID-19 or any other condition or disease and does not replace the judgment of healthcare professionals. It is included with the C-19 Vulnerability Survey to support conversations you may have with your physician, care team or caregivers.

How is this survey different from the C-19 Index?

The Vulnerability Survey and Vulnerability Index are similar in that they both calculate an individual’s vulnerability to severe illness from COVID-19.  But they accomplish this using different approaches and are built for different users.

The CV19 Vulnerability Index (C-19 Index) is an open source, AI-based predictive model that uses healthcare data (e.g. from medical and pharmacy claims, electronic health records, health risk assessments) to identify people with heightened vulnerability to severe complications resulting from COVID-19.  It was created to help care management teams within ACOs, health plans, hospitals and other organizations do targeted outreach to provide interventions that help vulnerable individuals ‘shelter in place’.

The Survey was designed for use by adults to help people understand their individual level of vulnerability, since people with the same chronic condition may not have the same risk, and many people with a particular condition also have other comorbidities, which compounds their vulnerability.

Will the survey ever change?

Even though the virus shares similarities with other known viruses, it has unique aspects that scientists are still discovering. As scientists learn more about COVID-19 and as more data becomes available, it is possible that the survey will change to reflect this new knowledge.

How does sharing my data help?

Responses to this survey may be useful in identifying concentrations of vulnerable individuals, mobilizing and allocating resources to assist those individuals, and furthering research related to the COVID-19 pandemic. If you do choose to share your data, we make the following commitments:

  • We will never share your data with anyone else
  • You can ask us to erase your data any time

We respect every individual’s right to privacy. If you select “Delete My Data” your data will be erased immediately after we provide your vulnerability report.