Coronavirus cases have spiked this week as COVID-19 planted a foothold in Europe, where it was able to infect nearly 1,000 people in Italy. As it spreads further afield from its origin point of Wuhan, China, the virus remains deadly and has killed thousands of people worldwide.
How many people have died from coronavirus?
Coronavirus was a “novel” infection when it first arose in 2019, allowing cases to blindside health officials.
As it spread through China, a burgeoning death rate followed, mainly among people in advanced age or suffering from another chronic illness.
As of March 1, cases number 87,470, and deaths have climbed to 2,990, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
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Although the figures presented by John’s Hopkins seem particularly alarming, the death rate is still relatively low.
Researchers currently estimate between five and 40 of 1,000 coronavirus cases are fatal, with a rough rate of one percent.
In reality, the death rate could be much lower, as several hundred or thousands of cases could cause mild symptoms and go unreported.
The deadliest cases are the easiest to count, which could lead to an overestimated fatality rate.
Estimation can also go the other way, as when officials include cases which haven’t yet resulted in recovery or death, the fatality rate goes down.
Concluding a reliable fatality rate isn’t possible until an outbreak is “over”, which may not be for some time in the case of coronavirus.
Researchers can identify who is the most at risk of death while it is still ongoing, however.
The first extensive analysis of 44,000 coronavirus cases from China found age was the best determiner of mortality likelihood.
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The analysis concluded the most at-risk group was those aged 80+ years old, with most people in the range dying from a coronavirus infection.
The 70 to 79 bracket still saw a marked increase in fatalities, but it was nearly half as dangerous.
Fatality rates improve as age goes down, with just eight deaths in 4,500 cases among people under 30 years old.
One age group – zero to nine years old – has no recorded deaths whatsoever.
Comorbidity naturally plays a part in deaths amongst most ages, with older people likely to have other illnesses.
The same analysis found people with cardiovascular problems were most likely to die from COVID-19.
Those suffering from diabetes, respiratory disease and hypertension are also at a lesser but still elevated risk of death.
Researchers also found a slightly higher fatality rate amongst male COVID-19 patients.
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