There is much talk of the mortality rate of the covid19 virus. It is said that it is much lower than what was expected. But how can anyone even know what the mortality rate is? Until every case – not just the cases that have been confirmed already, but also those that will be confirmed in the future – have resolved into either “ recovered” or “deceased”, no one knows what the mortality rate is.
To be blunt, what we all really want to know is what our chances of dying are if we get the disease. Since we want to put a number on it, we have to work from the numerical data that we have. Accordingly, we are calculating the ratio of people who die from the disease to those who contract it. But this is wrong. The true way to calculate the rate is to divide the final number of fatalities by the final number of cases. We cannot do that yet because we do not have the data.
People are now dividing the number of fatalities by the number of confirmed active cases and getting low percentages. But there are far more people who still have the disease than there are who are recovered and those that have died put together. These cases will in time be resolved; and until they have been, we do not have the basis to calculate a mortality rate.
If we use the numbers we have, this method yields a ratio of .017 or 1.7 % for the US and 6.2% for the world; reassuring perhaps, at least for Americans, but totally misleading.
A better way to judge the deadliness of the disease is to compare the number of recoveries to the number of fatalities. As of Saturday morning, in the US, 2,465 people who have had the disease have recovered; while there are 1,706 who have died from it. That’s 1.44 recoveries for each death. Put another way, for every 100 people who recover, 69 can be expected to die.
The ratio for the global cases is better – 132,440 recovered versus 26,909 fatalities. That works out to 4.92 recoveries for each fatality or 20 deaths for each 100 recoveries.
Since China is suspected of under-reporting deaths and inflating the number of recoveries, these numbers may be significantly inaccurate. China claims to have had 74,971 recoveries versus 3,295 deaths. That’s 2,280 recoveries for each death, or only 4.4 deaths for each 100 who recover. I for one don’t believe it.
China watchers tell us that any or all of these numbers could be off by a factor of ten. For this reason, the true global ratio is probably nearer to that of the US.
This approach to estimating the deadliness of the disease is not infallible. But it is accurate enough to give us a truer picture than the one propagated by the media.
So, is the covid19 virus deadly? Don’t trust the propagandists, or the governmental bodies that want to avoid causing a panic. Judge for yourself.
Howard Douglas King
March 28, Year of our Lord 2020