Surprising Stats about the Coronavirus Mortality Rate By Brian Simpson

     At last, according to this article, the coronavirus fatality rate is lower that expected, and closely approximates that of the flu:

“The fatal and highly contagious novel coronavirus has spread faster but is less deadly than official data imply, the Economist magazine reported over the weekend, citing a new study. On Saturday, the Economist reported that the fact that the illness caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) has spread across the United States could be “good news.” “If millions of people were infected weeks ago without dying, the virus must be less deadly than official data suggest,” the magazine determined, using graphs to suggest the faster the disease spreads and hits its peak, the fewer people will die. The Economist article cited a new study by Justin Silverman and Alex Washburne that used data on influenza-like illness (ili) to show that the coronavirus (SARS-COV-2) is now widespread in America. Silverman and Washburne found that the coronavirus mortality rate could be as low as 0.1 percent, “similar to that of flu.”

     The Economist further explained:

COVID-19 takes 20-25 days to kill victims. The [Silverman and Washburne] paper reckons that 7m Americans were infected from March 8th to 14th, and official data show 7,000 deaths three weeks later. The resulting fatality rate is 0.1%, similar to that of flu. That is amazingly low, just a tenth of some other estimates. Perhaps it is just wrong, possibly because the death toll has been under-reported. Perhaps, though, New York’s hospitals are overflowing because the virus is so contagious that it has crammed the equivalent of a year’s worth of flu cases into one week. The death rate could be higher given that people with asymptomatic or mild coronavirus likely failed to report non-flu influenza-like illnesses to their doctors, the magazine acknowledged. Silverman and Washburne reportedly gleaned their data from weekly reports by 2,600 American doctors on the number of their patients who have [illness], the Economist explained, adding:

The authors assume that the share of these providers’ patients with [illness] who do have the flu matches the rate of flu tests that are positive in the same state and week. This lets them estimate how many people [are] seriously enough to call a doctor, but do not have the flu—and how many more people have had non-flu [illness] in 2020 than in prior years. Of course, the flu is often the cause of [illness], but there many other ailments that produce influenza-like illness, including common colds, step throat, and now coronavirus. The new study’s coronavirus death rate estimate is much lower than what Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and member of the White House Coronavirus Taskforce, predicted in early March. “If you look at the cases that have come to the attention of the medical authorities in China, and you just do the math, the math is about two percent,” Fauci said. A study from Britain published at the end of last month in the medical journal Lancet Infectious Diseases also found that fewer people are dying from the novel coronavirus than previously estimated. That study estimated the coronavirus death rate could be as low as 0.66 percent and as high as 1.38 percent. Fauci’s estimate is higher than both figures. The coronavirus has infected over 560,000 people and killed nearly 23,000 across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Johns Hopkins University tracker showed as of Monday afternoon.”

     Of course, if the fatality/mortality rate of the disease is calculated based upon those who went to hospital and died, one will get a biased sample because such people are at an advanced stage of the disease, needing hospitalisation. A more accurate method is to measure infections from a random sample of the population, as has been done in Iceland, with interesting results that demand an answer:

“Iceland has tested one-tenth of its population for coronavirus at random and found that half of those who tested positive had the disease without realising. They also discovered that 1,600 people have been infected with Covid-19 since the start of the outbreak. Of these cases, there were only seven deaths, indicating a fatality rate of just 0.4 per cent, which is significantly lower than other countries, including the UK. The findings were made during Iceland's rigorous testing campaign, conducted with the help of Reykjavik-based biopharmaceutical company deCODE genetics, which has seen 10 per cent of the 364,413 population swabbed, something yet to be achieved by any other nation. An estimated 50 per cent of those infected with the virus, the company found, do not show any symptoms.”

     The riots are already beginning and will only get worse as people go stir crazy:

“German Chancellor Angela Merkel is facing pressure to ease the lockdown and reopen schools as the number of new coronavirus cases and deaths in the country continues to fall. Germany reported 2,537 new cases today marking the third consecutive day of decline. The country saw 4,133 new diagnoses on Saturday and 2,821 on Sunday with the total number of infected now hitting 123,016.  The death toll is also on its third day of decline after it rose by 126 to 2,799. The declining figures come amid shocking reports that groups of thugs attacked German police with iron bars and threw stones when the officers tried to disperse them. Merkel, who has urged a cautious approach to any loosening of restrictions, will hold a video conference on Wednesday after the governor of the state with the most infections called for a 'road map' to return to normality.”

     I will believe it when I see it.



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Wednesday, 24 July 2024

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