"We still don’t have the data that scientists and public-health officials should have,”

Economist Andrew Levin, Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire voicing frustration over not having reliable data on mortality rates and COVID-19.

  • The public and researchers want a gauge on how deadly COVID-19.
  • Doctors interviewed by science journal Nature say they are getting better at treating COVID-19 and seeing the mortality rate go down in their hospitals.
  • However, a statistic on COVID-19 mortality remains illusive for several reasons – here’s an excerpt:
  • Case-fatality rates depend on testing: a country that tests only people with severe symptoms, for example, will have an outsized case-fatality rate compared with one in which asymptomatic testing is widespread. And fatality rates in intensive-care units can mislead if the demographics of the people admitted change over time. For example, many hospitals reported high numbers of younger patients as the pandemic wore on…As a result, it has taken researchers some time to determine whether the number of deaths per SARS-CoV-2 infection is really falling, particularly for older people, says epidemiologist Ali Mokdad at the University of Washington in Seattle. Mokdad and his colleagues have been monitoring global data, with a focus on the United States and Europe. A provisional analysis, he says, which includes data from the American Hospital Association, now suggests that the number of fatalities per infection might have fallen by 20%.
  • Why This Matters: Understanding how deadly COVID-19 really is to different members of a community will not only help treatment but public policy.

Here’s a link to the full article: NATURE