Coronavirus kills 1.04% of people who get it, new study finds


Coronavirus could kill 1.04% of all people who catch it, scientists say.

This death rate, estimated by researchers at Stanford University in California, would make COVID-19 10 times more deadly than the flu.

It could also mean that around 4.65 million people in the UK have already had the virus, based on around 48,417 people who have died from the disease so far.

Scientists have not been able to determine how deadly the virus is, because to do this you need to know the actual number of people who have suffered from it.

But many COVID-19 patients around the world are also not diagnosed because their symptoms are so mild that they do not realize they are sick, or do not meet the criteria for government testing. .

The Stanford team estimate sits at the top of the range of various calculations that have emerged in recent scientific articles, ranging from 0.1 – the same as flu – to 1.04%.

If true, that number would mean that the disease kills one in 100 people who get it.

A 1.04 percent mortality rate could mean that 4.65 million people in the UK have already had coronavirus - far less than other mortality rate models from previous studies have suggested

A 1.04 percent mortality rate could mean that 4.65 million people in the UK have already had coronavirus – far less than other mortality rate models from previous studies have suggested

Researchers estimated the death rate from the virus using a complex algorithm based on the number of people who tested positive in 139 countries around the world.

They combined this with the precision of the tests to create what they described as “a new statistical approach based on sampling effort”.

He looked at how each country decided who to test, how many of their tests were positive and took into account the number of false negatives.

By analyzing the numbers in their formula, the researchers – Richard Grewelle and Giulio De Leo – estimated the global death rate from virus infection at 1.04%.

It was between 0.77% and 1.38%, they said, with 1.04 midpoint accepted.

The document was published on the MedRxiv website without being reviewed by other scientists for errors.


Up to 222,000 people in England could be infected with the coronavirus at the moment, according to a government test survey that was first published last week.

The first round of random public tests identified only 33 positive cases of COVID-19 in a sample of 10,705 people and estimated a national infection level of 0.27% – one in 370 people.

Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, Deputy Chief Medical Officer of Health for England, said at a briefing in Downing Street that the data represented “a very low level of infection” in the community.

This suggests that 148,000 people had the virus at some point between April 27 and May 10, this figure being the average estimate between a minimum of 94,000 and a maximum of 222,000. During this period, 66,343 people been officially diagnosed.

And the infection rate is six times higher among healthcare workers and caregivers than in the general population, according to the survey.

While 1.33% of people who worked in hospitals or at home with patients were positive for the virus, only 0.22% of people in other jobs did so.

The figures released do not include anyone who has been tested in a nursing home or hospital, where statisticians have stated that “COVID-19 infection rates are likely to be higher.”

Most official tests, which have detected around 250,000 positive cases during the entire epidemic, are carried out in hospitals and nursing homes.

The Office for National Statistics is expected to release antibody data soon to indicate how many people have had the infection but currently do not have enough data for a reliable estimate.

The current survey, of which it is the first dataset, will continue as part of the government’s test, tracking and tracing plan to break the lockout and will be extended to regular testing in more than 10,000 households.

“Our estimated IFR [infection fatality rate] aligns with many previous estimates and is the first attempt at an overall estimate of COVID-19 IFR, “said the scientists.

The difficulty of estimating an overall mortality rate, they said, is compounded by differences in screening strategies between countries, as well as by factors that make certain populations more or less at risk for serious illness.

The researchers added, “The estimate of IFR in one location will differ from IFR in another due to differences in underlying health conditions, demographics and medical treatment.

“Rather than understanding the extent of the variability that these factors can create in IFR measurements, we are deriving a new approach to IFR estimation using global data.

“As long as the tests gave priority to those most at risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection, the relative test capacity metric used in our approach should reflect the capacity of each country to estimate with the real IFR. “

Understanding how deadly the virus is can reveal the true number of people who have been infected with the disease through reverse engineering.

For example, if the mortality rate is 1.04%, it means that 10.4 deaths out of 1000 diagnosed.

Statistics suggest that the real death toll in Britain is currently around 48,417.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics, National Records Scotland, and NISRA, the Northern Ireland statistical agency, suggest that the actual number of people who died from COVID-19 is 37% higher than what the Ministry of Health calculated.

As of May 8, these organizations had recorded 42,862 deaths, while the Ministry of Health had recorded 31,241 in comparison, a difference of 37%.

Applying the same increase to the death toll today of 35,341, the current death toll is 48,417.

If 1.04% is the true death rate, the number of deaths so far suggests that 4.65 million people have been infected with the virus.

Studies in other countries, based on surveys in other western cities whose blood tests have shown to have had the infection in the past, put the death rate between 0.19 and 0, 79.

If these are more specific, the number of people who have had the infection in the UK varies enormously from a minimum of 4.65 m to a staggering 48.4 m, which would be expected if COVID-19 were similar to the flu.

These calculations work like this:

  • 0.1% death rate (flu): 48.4 million cases in the UK
  • 0.19% mortality rate (in Helsinki, Finland): 25.48 million
  • 0.37% mortality rate (Gangelt, Germany): 13.08 million
  • 0.4% (Stockholm, Sweden): 12.1 million
  • 0.79% (New York, United States): 6.12 million
  • 1.04% (Stanford study): 4.65 m


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