Saturday, March 28, 2020

What we seem to know so far …

… Covid-19 — Navigating the Uncharted | NEJM. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

If one assumes that the number of asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic cases is several times as high as the number of reported cases, the case fatality rate may be considerably less than 1%. This suggests that the overall clinical consequences of Covid-19 may ultimately be more akin to those of a severe seasonal influenza (which has a case fatality rate of approximately 0.1%) or a pandemic influenza (similar to those in 1957 and 1968) rather than a disease similar to SARS or MERS, which have had case fatality rates of 9 to 10% and 36%, respectively.2


  1. True with a "however". However, the way Covid-19 kills through the respiratory system, seems to indicate that it is far more deadly.

    Now the "but". But if it proves to be true, that the death rate is less than 1% for Covid-19, that could be because we are not detecting or we are underestimating all cases of flu.

  2. Thank you again, Rus Bowden.

  3. Fatality rate is not the only measure of the severity and clinical consequences of a disease. Efficiency of transmission, for example, is another (as implied in the article cited)-- and there are surely others. In fact, I recall reading that the very high fatality rate of SARS and MERS actually contributed to their limited spread. If I've got this wrong, please correct me!