Coronavirus update: Now, researchers have started breaking down that risk by age group, as evidence mounts that younger people and children are far less likely to experience severe disease
In the US, "case fatality rate" has fallen dramatically from 6.6 per cent in April to just over 2 per cent in August, according to Reuters statistics. (Reuters image)
Coronavirus update: The deadly COVID-19 has taken over 10 lakh lives around the world with more than 5,400 people dying each day, based on an average from September 1 to 27. However, experts and scientists have been finding it quite difficult to figure out a crucial metric in the Coronavirus pandemic — the fatality rate — the percentage of people infected with the SARS-CoV-2 who die, as per a Reuters report.
There are certain issues surrounding the COVID-19 death rate. A death rate is calculated by comparing deaths against the total number of infections. However, this denominator remains unknown because the full scope of asymptomatic cases is difficult to measure. Many people who become infected simply do not experience symptoms. Scientists have claimed the total number of infections is exponentially higher than the current number of confirmed cases, now at 33 million globally. Many experts believe the coronavirus likely kills 0.5 per cent to 1 per cent of people infected, making it a very dangerous virus globally until a vaccine is identified, the Reuters report says.
Now, researchers have started breaking down that risk by age group, as evidence mounts that younger people and children are far less likely to experience severe disease. “The death rate for people below age 20 is probably one in 10,000. Over the age of 85 it is around one in 6,” Director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington in Seattle Christopher Murray was quoted as saying by Reuters.
However, there has been a visible decline in COVID-19 death rates when compared against the number of new Coronavirus infections confirmed by COVID testing. In the US, “case fatality rate” has fallen dramatically from 6.6 per cent in April to just over 2 per cent in August, according to Reuters statistics. In India, the case fatality rate is 1.57 per cent, as per data shared by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on September 29.
But experts said that the decline has largely been driven by more widespread testing compared with the early days of the pandemic, detecting more people who have mild illness or no symptoms. Improvements in treating the severely ill and protecting some of the highest-risk groups, are also credited with improving survival. “We are much more aware of potential complications and how to recognize and treat them,” said Dr. Amesh Adalja of the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security was quoted as saying by Reuters.
This underlines the need for continued vigilance, as some countries begin to experience the second wave of infections.