Coronavirus Update; Now Deadlier Than SARS

In a recent Q&A, I shared the information that the coronavirus had proven to be 39.9 times as deadly as the flu and was tracking to become a health crisis that would exceed the SARS outbreak of 2002-2003. Well, just a week and a half later, we’ve blown passed it and it’s increasingly becoming clear that it’s potentially more deadly than we initially knew. In my first update, 2% of all who had contracted the coronavirus died. That’s the rate that was nearly 40 times the flu death rate. It looks like the actual death rate is substantially worse.

The SARS outbreak killed 908 people. There are now 43,106 confirmed cases of the coronavirus virus and 1,018 people have died. That's already higher than my previous update but the death rate actually appears to be much worse. To date, only 4,045 people have recovered from the coronavirus. This means the death rate for closed cases is 20%. There’s no virus in modern history with a death rate documented to be anywhere near these levels. Should these levels hold, the death rate for the coronavirus wouldn’t be 40 times the flu, it would be 40,000 times more deadly.

My point in breaking this down and sharing this update isn’t to cause unnecessary concern. It is to illustrate the severity of this threat. We have a tendency to relate a public health crisis to something we’ve witnessed or experienced. None of us have lived through a viral threat that’s proved to be this deadly. 


Photo by: Getty Images

Brian Mudd

Brian Mudd

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