How many people die after being infected with the novel coronavirus? Fewer than previously calculated, according to a study released Monday, but still more than die from the flu.
The research, published in the medical journal The Lancet Infectious Diseases, estimated that about 0.66% of those infected with the virus will die.
What the research shows: That coronavirus death rate, which is lower than earlier estimates, takes into account potentially milder cases that often go undiagnosed – but it’s still far higher than the 0.1% of people who are killed by the flu.
When unreported infections aren’t taken into account, the Lancet study found that the coronavirus death rate was 1.38%, which is more consistent with earlier reports.
That’s because death rates typically only consider reported coronavirus cases, which tend to be more severe, and thus brought to the attention of health-care workers. Asymptomatic cases — or mild cases — may not always be counted.
Death rate differs among age groups: That death rate, though, went up in older adults, with approximately 7.8% of those over age 80 estimated to die after infection. And deaths were estimated to be exceedingly rare in children younger than nine, with a fatality rate of just 0.00161%.
For age groups younger than 40, the death rate was never higher than 0.16%, according to the study. Out of 1,000 young adults infected, then, about one or two could die, with the youngest people facing the lowest risk.
Experts stress that it’s difficult to estimate a virus’ death rate during an epidemic.
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