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Case Fatality Ratio for COVID-19 Estimated at 1.38 Percent

Substantially higher ratios were seen in older age groups in China and in international cases

TUESDAY, March 31, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- The case fatality ratio for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in China is estimated at 1.38 percent, according to a study published online March 30 in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

Robert Verity, Ph.D., from Imperial College London, and colleagues collected individual-case data for patients who died from COVID-19 in Hubei and for cases outside of mainland China to estimate the time between onset of symptoms and outcome.

The researchers estimated that the mean duration from onset of symptoms to death and to hospital discharge was 17.8 and 24.7 days, respectively, based on 24 deaths that occurred in mainland China and 165 recoveries outside of China. A crude case fatality ratio of 3.67 percent was seen in all 70,117 laboratory-confirmed and clinically diagnosed cases from mainland China. After adjustment, a best estimate of the case fatality ratio was 1.38 percent, with substantially higher ratios in older age groups (0.32, 6.4, and 13.4 percent for those aged <60 years, ≥60 years, and ≥80 years, respectively). The estimates of case fatality ratios were consistent from international cases stratified by age. For China, the estimated overall infection fatality ratio was 0.66 percent, with the profile increasing with age.

"The strategies of early detection, early diagnosis, early isolation, and early treatment that were practiced in China are likely to be not only useful in controlling the outbreak, but also contribute to decreasing the case fatality ratio of the disease," writes the author of an accompanying editorial.

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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