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March 7, 2020March 17, 2020
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Executive Summary: (See tabs for calculations and sources)Summary of Age Results:
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- The US Population is ~328M and each year about ~2.8M die from all causes which is 0.87% of the population- In the US, death rates go up by age. In 2018, 13% of 85+ died (880k), 4% of 75-85 (600k), and 2% 65-75 (545k) died.
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- Flu sickens a range between ~36M-41M in a year. If we take the average then that's 38M people sickened, with 45k deaths, or a death rate of 0.014% of the population- 8.6% of those who got the Flu in the US were over 65. Death rates out of the population were significantly higher at a rate of 0.05% (25k deaths out of 6.5M people over 85) compared to the average of 0.01% for all age groups.
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- We don't know the exact rate of death from Covid-19, nor how contagious it is, but we have an estimate of a range of it being 1.5-4x more contagious than the Flu (spreading to more people) and 1-25x more deathly than the Flu (killing more people it sickens)- To estimate death rates by age for Covid-19 we use data from two countries - China and South Korea. We model out a best and worst case scenario.
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- The low end of both those numbers means that Covid-19 would result in 69k deaths, a population death rate of 0.021%. This is 1.5x more than the Flu.- In the best case, the death rate for those 80+ is 2.3%, in the worst case it is 11%. Age 70-80 is 1.14%-7.04%. Age 60-70 is 0.33%-3.5%.
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- The high end of both those numbers means that Covid-19 would result in ~4.5M deaths, a population death rate of 1.4%. This is 100x more than the Flu.- For those age 65+ relative to Flu the Covid-19 death rate is 17x in the best case and 112x in the worst case.
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Clearly the high end of killing 1.4% of the population would be very very bad, especially with the context that in a given year only 0.87% of the population dies.- For those age 50-60 the rates of death are similarly high relative to flu. Under 50 is lower yet the range of death rates for ages 18-49 are still 6x to 96x the flu. In the worst case 24k people ages 20-30 die from Covid-19; in comparison only 2k people ages 18-49 died from the flu.
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We need to improve our estimates of these numbers as we collect more data in order to know the extent we need to change our behaviors to prevent the spread. - If we use the age distribution and death rates by age to calculate a high and low projected overall deaths for the US we get 470k deaths - 10x Flu - in the best case and 3.5M deaths - 77x Flu - in the worst case.
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This is based on data from China and South Korea. The US numbers may be higher than both or lower than both. In addition we do not know how seriously ill the patients who died from Covid-19 were prior to contacting the disease and so it may be the case that the incremental deaths due to Covid-19 is lower.
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Action items:
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- Everyone: Immediately change our behavior to restrict the spread of the disease, which is something all of us can do. Even in the low end scenario this is prudent, and given the possibility of the high end it is critical. Action items:
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- Governments: Support people to be able to self-quarantine and employers support it too. - Older people should take significantly greater precautions against Covid-19 and change behaviors.
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- Scientists: Continue to work on treatments to reduce the virulence of the virus.- Younger people should avoid interacting with older adults if they have not been actively social distancing.
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- Governments, anyone with money, every day people: fund scientific research on how to reduce virulence.
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Sources are CDC, Census, NYT - see "Sources" tab for links, and "Calculations" tab for formulas.Sources are CDC, Census, China CDC, KCDC. See "Age Calculations" tab for links to sources.
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