May 21, 2020

Model estimates infection fatality rate in symptomatic COVID-19 patients

By: Judy Mathias
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Editor's Note

The fatality rate in the US for those infected with SARS-CoV-2 who show symptoms is 1.3%, this study from the University of Washington finds.

To build county-by-county models, the researchers used publicly reported national COVID-19 data for 116 counties in 33 states.


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A rate variable was constructed by dividing the cumulative total number of deaths by the cumulative total detected cases for each date and county. Asymptomatic patients were not included in the models.

The infection fatality ratio estimate is dynamic, and the overall estimate can increase or decrease, depending on the demographics where the infection spreads.

The model found that county-specific infection fatality rates in the state of Washington, for example, varied from 0.5% to 3.6%.

Hopefully, the study results can help inform local and national policies that will save lives in the future, the authors say.

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