Well-Being Prevention & Cures

Study: Coronavirus death rate lower than initially thought

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Story at a glance

  • Previous estimates ranged from 2 percent to 3.4 percent.
  • The study comes as China reports no new locally transmitted cases of the coronavirus.
  • China has confirmed more than 81,000 cases with more than 3,200 deaths.

As China reports no new locally transmitted cases of the novel coronavirus for the first time since the outbreak began last year, a new study claims the death toll in Wuhan from COVID-19 is lower than initially thought. 

The research published in Nature Medicine Thursday found people with the coronavirus in the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the virus is believed to have originated, had a 1.4 percent likelihood of dying, far lower than some of the previous estimates. 

At the beginning of March, the World Health Organization (WHO) put the mortality rate of the novel coronavirus at around 3.4 percent of confirmed cases. The number is also well below the death rate for Wuhan based on simply dividing the number of deaths by cases.

Researchers built on previous data and modeled the number of cases to include the number of people who did not show symptoms and were not confirmed with having had the coronavirus. 

The Health Commission of Hubei Province, which includes Wuhan, said there were zero new confirmed cases of COVID-19 Wednesday, although there were eight deaths in the province.

In the beginning of the outbreak in late December, China was hit with thousands of new cases daily, leading to the suspension of all travel to and from the Hubei province. 

Authorities in China shut schools and workplaces, implemented travel restrictions and ordered quarantines for large parts of the population and many visitors from abroad. 

China announced Thursday it had recorded just 34 new cases of the coronavirus over 24 hours, all of which came from abroad. 

China has confirmed more than 81,000 cases with more than 3,200 deaths. More than 3,100 deaths took place in the Hubei province alone, according to Johns Hopkins University data.


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