COVID-19 is 13 times deadlier than flu, study suggests

COVID-19 may kill about 1.3 percent of symptomatic patients, an infection fatality rate that is 13 times higher than the flu, according to a peer-reviewed study slated for publication in Health Affairs.

Researchers analyzed 40,835 confirmed cases and 1,620 deaths across 116 counties using GitHub data from Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins University and The New York Times through April 20.

Based on mathematical modeling, researchers estimate the national infection fatality rate for symptomatic COVID-19 patients is 1.3 percent, with county-specific rates ranging from 0.5 percent to 3.6 percent. For reference, the fatality rate for seasonal flu is about 0.1 percent. 

If 35.5 million U.S. residents contract COVID-19 this year (which is how many people were sickened last flu season), about 500,000 deaths would occur in the absence of any mitigation strategies.

Researchers noted their estimate does not factor in asymptomatic COVID-19 patients, which would lower the fatality rate.  

To view the full study, click here.


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