This study finds Coronavirus isn’t as deadly as it was estimated to be

If every state within the US imposes social restrictions, The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation predicts COVID-19 deaths will begin to decrease sometime in mid-April. Once we’ve cleared peak transmission, elected officials and medical professionals can focus their efforts on economic rehabilitation and vaccinology research respectively.  

It becomes increasingly difficult to separate the intensity of coverage from the actual coverage itself as the pandemic progresses. 

Although case severity is dependent on many different factors, the vast majority of patients will recover without the need for supportive therapeutics.  

The Initial mortality rate posited by health systems was informed by stark hypotheticals. More than two million Americans were projected to succumb to COVID-19 if zero interventions were enacted.

Since then, more tests have been made available to the public, myths about which clinical methods do and do not work have been debunked, and companies around the world have committed to an indefinite period of remote work. 

A new study conducted by the Imperial College of London reassessed COVID-19’s mortality rate after analyzing all confirmed and suspected cases. According to their data, the virus is significantly less deadly than previously estimated. 

“In the face of rapidly changing data, a range of case fatality ratio estimates for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) have been produced that differ substantially in magnitude. We aimed to provide robust estimates, accounting for censoring and ascertainment biases,” the authors wrote in the study. “We collected individual-case data for patients who died from COVID-19 in Hubei, mainland China (reported by national and provincial health commissions to Feb 8, 2020), and for cases outside of mainland China (from government or ministry of health websites and media reports for 37 countries, as well as Hong Kong and Macau, until Feb 25, 2020). 

After taking these citations into account, the researchers determined COVID-19’s death rate to be roughly  0.66%, which is much lower than The World Health Organization’s 3% to 4% estimate.

Early reports omitted population size and undiagnosed cases from analysis. This is in large part due to overwhelmed hospitals denying admission for carriers with mild to moderate symptoms. 

After including patients with non-distinguishable symptoms who nonetheless tested positive for COVID-19, the mortality rate dropped dramatically. This was even true among individuals disproportionately affected by the novel coronavirus.

Preliminary analysis suspected the mortality rate for elderly patients to range between 8% and 36%. However, the new report places it closer to 7.8%. 

In a media release, Dr. Srinath K Reddy, president of the Public Health Foundation of India, said that these new figures likely resemble reality much more than initial reports, but believes a lot of work must be done if the world intends to keep it that way. 

Make no mistake, SARS–Cov-2 is a mysterious and fast-acting virus. The number of global cases will likely hit the million mark in the near future and so far more than 44,100 people have succumbed to the disease. To avoid a second wave, it’s imperative that we assume the worst until the coast is categorically clear. 

“Our estimates of the case fatality ratio for COVID-19, although lower than some of the crude estimates made to date, are substantially higher than for recent influenza pandemics (eg, H1N1 influenza in 2009). With the rapid geographical spread observed to date, COVID-19, therefore, represents a major global health threat in the coming weeks and months,” the authors continued.  These estimates are therefore crucial to enable countries around the world to best prepare as the global pandemic continues to unfold,” the authors concluded.

Read the full report published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal on March 30