The coronavirus may not be as deadly as original estimates predicted, according to a new study published on Monday.
The study, published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases medical journal, says previous estimates were too high because they were based on the case fatality rate (CFR) and didn’t account for undiagnosed cases.
The study estimates that the mortality rate of the coronavirus is actually .66 percent.
Earlier this month, Dr. Anthony Fauci estimated that the mortality rate of the coronavirus was about 2 percent. “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 2%.” The World Health Organization estimated a 3.4 percent mortality rate. President Trump endured a lot of criticism for saying that he had a “hunch” that the WHO’s estimate was too high.
“Well, I think the 3.4 percent is really a false number. Now, and this is just my hunch, and — but based on a lot of conversations with a lot of people that do this. Because a lot people will have this and it’s very mild. They’ll get better very rapidly. They don’t even see a doctor. They don’t even call a doctor,” Trump said. “I think that that number is very high. I think the number, personally, I would say the number is way under 1 percent.”
That would make Trump’s “hunch” correct. That’s not to say the coronavirus shouldn’t be treated seriously. Assuming that the .66 percent fatality rate is the most accurate estimate, that’s still higher than the seasonal flu, which has a mortality rate of .1 percent, and H1N1 (swine flu), which had a case fatality rate of .02 percent during the 2009 pandemic, based on the CDC’s official numbers.
“There might be outlying cases that get a lot of media attention, but our analysis very clearly shows that at aged 50 and over, hospitalization is much more likely than in those under 50, and a greater proportion of cases are likely to be fatal,” said Imperial College of London professor Azra Ghani, an author of the study, in a statement.
Matt Margolis is the author of Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis