It seems there is no clear answer to this question.
What we do know is the elderly are the most susceptible, however people as young as 30 have, in rare instances, succumbed to the virus. And according to France’s chief epidemiologist young people with obesity are also at risk.
Until there is a vaccine, we have to live with the uncertainty.
However, there are ways to mitigate the risk and if 2020 has taught us anything, health tech is at the forefront of mitigation practices.
Digital health services have been growing since 2018. Digital health companies raised US$8.1 billion in venture capital financing in 2018.
The primary driver of this and subsequent growth in this sector is the need to improve patient experience and engagement.
The basic concepts underpinning this improvement are new medical devices that have already been embraced and proven effective across the healthcare industry, demonstrating clinical and financial value.
Monitoring and communicating critical data from home is convenient and time effective without needing face-to-face consultation.
Wearables, for instance, have moved ahead in leaps and bounds as at home devices save patients a trip to the doctor or hospital and in some cases, even saved lives.
Livongo is one company in recent times that has really embraced digital health, to the point that Teledoc is merging with Livongo Health in an $18.5BN deal that will create a leader in consumer-centred virtual health care.
Meanwhile, Google and Fitbit combined to monetise health data when Google purchased the original wearable giant for $2BN.
Amazon has also moved into 3D body scans and announced Halo, a fitness band and app that scans your body and voice.
Even IBM and Samsung are getting in on the health tech trend.
At a local level, MyFiziq Limited (ASX: MYQ) has been fighting the good fight.
MYQ has developed a patented application that allows an individual to accurately track the dimensions of their body directly from a smartphone.
The application measures body fat indirectly through machine learning and body shape analysis.
It also utilises surrogate measures of a person's total body fat mass, such as BMI, waist circumference, waist to hip ratio and waist to height ratio. These surrogate methods have been significantly associated with non-communicable diseases directly correlated with obesity.
The company is focused on delivering its app to several key verticals worth collectively trillions of dollars including health and fitness, medical and insurance, corporate wellness, apparel, telehealth and mobile health.
In fact, several health organisations and insurance companies have already adopted MYQ’s tech as a means to help their clients and customers achieve optimum health targets.
A number of recent deals should push the company into profitability in the coming months.
MYQ requires 140,000 users paying US$1.50 per month to break even. A quick scan of their most recent deals shows this to be well within reach:
- Nexus-Vita - Initial Target users of 100,000, minimum annual revenue to MYQ of US$3.58M from date of commercial launch (due Jan 2021);
- Jayex Healthcare (ASX: JHL) - Initial target of 1,000,000 users - starts Q1 of 2021;
- Biomorphik - Initial user target of 100,000 - release date Q4 2020.
Numerous other deals are expected to grow MYQ’s user base throughout 2021, complementing its existing partnerships with Evolt and Bearn (400,000 initial user target) - which has MYQ technology available on both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.
As it looks to capitalise on its current momentum, along with the adoption of digital health, MYQ has turned its focus to its proposed NASDAQ listing.
MYQ has engaged US-based investment bank Ladenburg Thalmann & Co. Inc. as lead underwriter to its proposed NASDAQ IPO.
In the much bigger US market, that is more familiar with the potential upside of health tech companies, MYQ’s ASX shareholders could be rewarded once the US listing is completed.
COVID continues to highlight the benefits of technology, including health-tech in what has now been dubbed “the new normal”.
Companies are scrambling to get their health tech right to, as stated, improve patient experience and engagement.
Meanwhile, investors, including Robinhood investors who are new to investing, are looking for ethical and worthy companies to put their money into. Notably, Robinhood investors have been driving the growth of NASDAQ listed health and tech stocks.
MYQ’s NASDAQ listing and wider exposure to US investors could be a further shot in the arm for the company and its shareholders, as it rolls out its tech to broader markets