It is estimated that as many as 1.7 billion individuals (22% of the global population!) are at increased risk of a severe reaction to COVID-19. This is due to the fact that the current data suggests that about 20% of people on Earth have at least one risk factor, including conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease or hypertension. The prevalence of these conditions is associated with our lifestyle, so it turns out that a healthy diet and appropriate level of physical activity can prevent us not only from diseases of civilization, but also complications of contagious diseases!
One of the most important ways to measure the burden of COVID-19 is mortality. We have decided to create this COVID mortality rate calculator to improve public awareness about the importance of staying at home and isolating yourself during a pandemic. You will be able to understand what groups are the most vulnerable, whilst the social distancing calculator will tell your how many lives you can save by isolating.
Be safe, protect others and #StayAtHome.
Our calculator is using data published in a paper by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, which was released in February 2020. It was based on over 70,000 COVID-19 cases in China and so far, it is one of the biggest fatality rate datasets.
Symptoms and disease progression
Symptoms of COVID-19 are non-specific, and the disease can present itself in many forms, from no symptoms (asymptomatic), to severe pneumonia and death.
According to WHO, typical signs and symptoms include:
- dry cough;
- sputum production;
- shortness of breath;
- sore throat;
- myalgia or arthralgia;
- nausea or vomiting;
- nasal congestion; and
Fortunately, most people suffering from COVID-19 (81%) generally develop signs and symptoms that can be classified as mild or asymptomatic. However, 14% people develop severe symptoms, and, for 5%, they can be critical (i.e., respiratory failure, septic shock, and/or multiple organ dysfunction or failure).
Differences between COVID-19 and flu
As the coronavirus outbreak continues, many people have started to compare COVID-19 to the seasonal flu. Both are respiratory diseases, yet there are important differences between the two viruses that cause these diseases. The symptoms might be similar - mostly asymptomatic or mild, but can result in a severe disease or death. While the range of symptoms might be similar, the fraction of people developing a severe disease appears to be different. For COVID-19, data suggest that 80% of infections are mild or asymptomatic, 15% are severe infection, requiring oxygen, and 5% are critical infections, requiring ventilation. The amount of severe and critical infections is higher than what is observed for influenza infection.
Mortality for COVID-19 also appears to be higher than for the flu. It will take some time to fully understand it, but the current data suggests that its crude mortality ratio (the number of reported deaths divided by the reported cases) is between 3-4%. In comparison, for seasonal flu, mortality is usually well below 0.1%.
COVID-19 fatality rate by age
Old age is one of the strongest factors that cause severe COVID-19–associated outcomes. Research shows that patients over 50 years old have a significantly higher risk of a severe illness, with the highest mortality being among people over 80 years of age.
The table below shows death rate for different age groups:
|Age||Mortality Rate (%)|
|80+ year old||14.8|
|70-79 years old||8.0|
|60-69 years old||3.6|
|50-59 years old||1.3|
|40-49 years old||0.4|
|10-39 years old||0.2|
|0-9 years old||no fatalities*|
❗* Recent data from New York City Health (April 14th, 2020) showed 3 deaths in the age group 0 - 17 years old. All children had underlying conditions that included diabetes, lung disease, cancer, immunodeficiency, heart disease, hypertension, asthma, kidney disease, or GI/liver disease.
COVID-19 fatality rate by sex
At this early stage of pandemic, it is still not possible to provide a clear answer to the question how sex influences the health outcomes of people diagnosed with coronavirus. So far, data suggest that both sexes are equally likely to get infected, however men are more likely to die due to infection (death rate in all cases: 2.8% vs 1.7%).
Here are some possible explanations:
- differences in immune system responses;
- men are more likely to suffer from other pre-existing medical conditions that may increase the fatality rate (e.g. cardiovascular disease);
- lower use of medical services; and
- other social and structural inequalities (e.g. ethnicity, disability).
COVID-19 fatality rate by comorbidity
Data suggest that patients with underlying health conditions and risk factors might be at a higher risk of a severe disease or death from COVID-19.
I am at higher-risk group. What now?!
Below you can learn what actions you can take (based on your conditions) to protect yourself.
- Cardiovascular disease and hypertension:
- take your medication exactly as prescribed;
- make sure that you have at least a two-week supply of your heart disease medications (those include antihypertensive drugs, or drugs to treat high cholesterol); and
- control you blood pressure as directed.
- continue taking diabetes pills and/or insulin as usual;
- make sure that you have at least a two-week supply of your medication;
- test your blood sugar every four hours and keep track of the results; and
- follow the sick day guidelines for people with diabetes if you get sick.
- Chronic respiratory disease:
- continue taking your medication as prescribed;
- if you need to use inhalers - make sure that you know how to use them; and
- avoid triggers that make your symptoms worse.
- People aged 65 or older:
- take medications for any underlying health conditions exactly as prescribed;
- be prepared to stay at home for long periods of time;
- develop a document that summarizes your current health conditions and treatment plan (you can use this care plan provided by CDC).
Check our other calculators that will help you survive the COVID-19 outbreak:
- Social distancing calculator to check how many lives you save by staying at home;
- Quarantine food calculator to plan your food shop and find out more about diet during quarantine;
- Quarantine weight calculator to find out how to maintain your weight;
- Toilet paper calculator to count all of the toilet rolls you need;
- Quarantine books calculator to see how many books you can read;
- Quarantine binge watching calculator to find the best set of TV series to watch during quarantine; and
- Stimulus check calculator to see how much money you can receive from US government.
- The Report of the WHO-China Joint Mission
- Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Characteristics of and Important Lessons From the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Outbreak in China
- Global Health 5050 COVID-19
- Preliminary Estimates of the Prevalence of Selected Underlying Health Conditions Among Patients with Coronavirus Disease 2019 — United States
- Xianxian Zhao. Incidence, clinical characteristics and prognostic factor of patients with COVID-19: a systematic review and meta-analysis. medRxiv 2020
- WHO. Q&A: Similarities and differences – COVID-19 and influenza
- Johns Hopkins University & Medicine. New Cases of COVID-19 In World Countries: Has the curve flattened?
- CDC. Groups at Higher Risk for Severe Illness.