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More On the Risk of Dying from Covid (Which Is Falling)

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(Don Boudreaux)


In response to this Cafe Hayek post from earlier today on daily Covid-19 cases compared to daily Covid-19 deaths, Mark Perry sent the following. I share it here with Mark’s kind permission.


The accompanying chart is another way to view the same data that Vernon was showing but as “case fatality rates” (deaths/cases) for the world (2.2% and falling) and US (1.8% and falling). Vernon’s chart showed about 600,000 COVID cases and 2.2% of that would be about 13,200 deaths. Since the number of cases is almost 50X higher than deaths (45.5X), it makes sense that Vernon’s chart appears as it does. The number of deaths IS very small relative to the number of cases, and that was not a “false impression of COVID deaths” due to a “gigantic scale.” When cases are in the mid-hundreds of thousands and deaths are in the low tens of thousands, it makes sense that the graph appears as it does because of the “gigantic” difference between cases and deaths.

Looking at a chart of “case fatality rates” overcomes those objections, see below. And in the US, the case fatality rate at 1.8% (and falling) is even lower than the 2.2% rate for the world. Another way to view the data is that there is a 98.2% rate of recovery for those who test positive in the US, and a 97.8% recovery rate for the world.

It’s also important to note that the case fatality rates in both the US and the world have been falling steadily from above 6% in May to 2.2% (and falling) for the world and 1.8% (and falling) for the US today. The fact that the recovery rate has increased in the US from 94% to 98% (and rising) over the last six months is probably an indication that the health care field is getting better and better at treating COVID, resulting in fewer and fewer deaths per cases.

For a link to the Our World in Data go here.



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