The CDC also says “the best estimate” is that 0.4% of people who show symptoms and have Covid-19 will die, and the agency estimates that 40% of coronavirus infections occur before people feel sick.
The agency warned that the numbers could change because more was learned about Covid-19, and warned that the information was intended for planning purposes. However, the agency said its estimates were based on real data collected by the agency before April 29.
The figures are part of five planning scenarios that are “being used by mathematical modelers throughout the federal government,” according to the CDC. Four of the scenarios represent “the lower limit of disease severity and virus transmission.”
The fifth scenario is “the current best estimate of the CDC about virus transmission and disease severity in the United States.” In that scenario, the agency illustrates its estimate that 0.4% of people who feel sick with Covid-19 will die.
For people aged 65 and older, the CDC puts that number at 1.3%. For people aged 49 and under, the agency estimates that 0.05% of people with symptoms will die.
The expert pushed back
Under the most severe of the five scenarios outlined – not the agency’s “best estimate” – the CDC lists a fatality ratio of symptomatic cases of 0.01, which means that 1% of people overall with Covid-19 and symptoms will die.
In the most severe scenario, the CDC puts that number at 0.2%.
An expert quickly pushed back the CDC estimate.
“While most of these numbers make sense, the mortality rate is too low,” biologist Carl Bergstrom of the University of Washington told CNN.
Bergstrom, an expert in computer modeling and simulation, said the figures appeared to be inconsistent with real-world findings.
“Estimates of the number of infected people in places like NYC are far from this estimate. Let’s remember that the number of deaths in NYC is now far more than we would expect if every adult and child in the city had been infected with a virus like the flu. This is not flu. That’s COVID, “Bergstrom said.
“As I see it, the ‘best estimate’ is very optimistic, and the ‘worst case’ scenario is quite optimistic even as the best estimate. People certainly want to consider a worse scenario,” Bergstrom said about the CDC figures.
“By introducing this as an official parameter set for modeling efforts, the CDC is influencing models produced by federal agencies, but also broader scientific discourse because there will be some pressure to use the CDC standard parameter set in future modeling papers,” he said. the word.
“Given that this parameter sets underestimated mortality by a substantial margin compared to the current scientific consensus, this is very problematic.”
Numbers are for planning purposes, the CDC said
“This scenario is intended to advance public health preparedness and planning. It is not a prediction or estimate of the expected impact of COVID-19,” the CDC said.
It said the number did not “reflect the impact of behavior changes, social distance, or other interventions,” which would be relevant for some agency estimates – such as how many infections originated from each case.
However, the CDC characterizes these figures as preliminary estimates from federal agencies, including the CDC and the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, which “is designed to help inform the decisions of models and public health officials who use mathematical modeling.”
Under the best-case scenario, the guidelines say 3.4% of people with symptoms of Covid-19 will require hospitalization, with that number increasing to 7.4% in people 65 and older. The CDC also says it assumes that people without symptoms are as contagious as those who have symptoms.
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