Just the News:
Since the start of the coronavirus crisis, frightening death rates have been publicized. China’s death rate was said to be approaching a scary 4 percent. That’s substantially higher than the death rate for seasonal flu, which is something less than 0.1 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Even worse, a February study by the World Health Organization (WHO) found the mortality rate for people over age 80 was one in five of those infected, or 21.9 percent.
But lately, the 4 percent death figure has drifted downward. For instance, the fatality rate in Wuhan, China, where the outbreak is believed to have begun, is now estimated at 1.4 percent, according to a study cited in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study was supported by National Health Commission of China and designed by the investigators. The study was approved by the institutional review board of the National Health Commission
If one factors in those patients who are infected, but do not get sick or tested, scientists say the rate is exponentially lower.
The current U.S. mortality rate, based on public statistics, has been hovering around 1.5 percent.
Is coronavirus really becoming less deadly? Or is our math getting better?
It is important to state that nothing in this discussion is intended to minimize the serious risks that can come with coronavirus infections. In the U.S., there have been more than 6,500 confirmed cases and over 100 deaths, mostly among the sick elderly. Worldwide there has been more than 200,000 confirmed cases.
The modeling of how the U.S. health system could be overwhelmed by respiratory patients has not been publicly released. But obviously, the projections are so chilling, public health officials and politicians have taken the unprecedented step of largely shutting down the country. Their hope is that social distancing and self-quarantines can both reduce transmission of coronavirus and spread out the infections so that they do not overwhelm America’s hospitals and doctors all at once.