Saturday, April 18, 2020

Less Lethal Than We Thought

Lots of people are testing positive for COVID-19 who were never sick. 4/18/20 Wall Street Journal:

New Data Suggest the Coronavirus Isn’t as Deadly as We Thought

A study finds 50 to 85 times as many infections as known cases—meaning a far lower fatality rate.

Here is a 4/18/20 Newsweek article that isn't behind a paywall:
A study in a county in California suggests that the prevalence of people infected with the coronavirus is much higher than previously thought, potentially complicating decisions on whether to end widespread lockdowns.

Blood from 3,300 volunteers living in Santa Clara was extracted from a finger prick and analyzed at the start of April. The Stanford University study, which has not been peer reviewed yet and was posted on medRxiv, found that between 2.5 percent of 4.5 percent of people tested positive for antibodies.

Extrapolated over the county's population of two million, the data predicts that between 48,000 and 82,000 people could have been infected with the virus at that time. The upper estimate is more than 80 times higher than the official case count of 1,000.


  1. That's one way to look at it. But the other way is to notice that the deaths are still really high - number per day is about the same as for cardiovascular disease and higher than any other cause. And, without all the mitigation, those deaths would be more than one order of magnitude higher - especially once the health system became overloaded, which it did in some local areas just with this low level.

    Also, we don't know how representative the Santa Clara County sample is.

    But... hopefully more serological surveys will be done soon.

  2. And as for the Santa Clara study, if the numbers were extrapolated to NYC, it would indicate that 120% of the population is positive for the virus. That seems high.

  3. Hal: I thought that was the voter turnout %.