The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response published new findings showing the overall death rate for COVID-19 is much lower than previously reported.
The study, which was published May 20 on the CDC website, offers five scenarios for COVID-19 death rates. The CDC’s “Current Best Estimate” states the overall symptomatic case fatality ratio is estimated at 0.004 or 0.4%. The report also states those showing little to no symptoms (asymptomatic) equate to 35% of all cases, bringing the estimated overall infection fatality rate (IFR) to 0.26%, a number similar to that estimated by Stanford researchers last month.
In March, a group of researchers published a study that analyzed COVID-19 data from China. The original finding was the virus has a 1.28% overall mortality rate, but that number decreased to 0.66% when adjusted for asymptomatic cases that likely went unaccounted for.
The World Health Organization in March stated the overall death rate for COVID-19 is 3.4%, nearly six times greater than the estimate in the China study and nearly thirteen times greater than the CDC estimates published last week.
In an editorial that dissects the latest CDC estimates, Daniel Horowitz stated the overall mortality rate is even less when figuring in deaths that occurred in long term care facilities. “Given that at least half of the deaths were in nursing homes, a back-of-the-envelope estimate would show that the infection fatality rate for non-nursing home residents would only be 0.1% or 1 in 1,000,” he wrote. “And that includes people of all ages and all health statuses outside of nursing homes. Since nearly all of the deaths are those with comorbidities.”
Horowitz says the CDC estimates the overall death rate of those under 50 is 1 in 6,725, but adds most of those deaths have specific comorbidities or underlying conditions, making those without health issues more likely to die in a car accident than from COVID-19.
As for children without underlying issues, Horowitz says they are more likely to get struck by lightening.