First, let’s look at the terms. 2019-nCoV is the provisional name of the coronavirus. Today, it is officially called SARS-CoV‑2. And the disease that causes this SARS is named the coronavirus disease (COVID‑19) and the virus that causes it COVID‑2019 (“coronavirus disease — 2019”).
Here is a list of myths about how the virus spreads and what to do to avoid infection.
1Coronavirus has a low mortality rate
Indeed, the death rate announced by experts seems to be low.
The mortality rate from the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is about 3.4%Bruce Aylward, senior adviser to the Director-General of WHO, head of the WHO international expert mission team
Whether 3,4% is a lot or not is a moot point. But it is pretty clear that this rate is times higher than the death rate from flu, which covid‑2019 is compared with oftenly. According to the statistic, the average lethality of seasonal flu is no more than 0.13% in the worst years. 3.4% is almost 30 times more.
And that’s not all. The death rate reported by the WHO representatives is most likely inaccurate. It is calculated by dividing the number of deaths by the total number of cases on a given date. Let’s say that on February 20, the number of confirmed cases was 2,000, and the number of deaths was 60. Divide 60 by 2,000 and we get 0.03, or 3%.
The problem is that SARS-CoV-2 has a long incubation period, with an average of 14 (up to 27) days after infecting. And the duration of the disease itself is long. Thus, the average time gap between the appearance of the first symptoms and hospitalization is around 10.5 days. Thus, on February 20, death toll includes people that were infected much earlier — in early February. But at the beginning of February, the number of cases was only, for example, 600 people. And in this case, the mortality rate jumps up sharply: 60 divided by 600, we get 10%.
Conclusion: it will be possible to accurately determine the covid‑2019 mortality rate only after the epidemic ends and the total number of cases and deaths becomes clear. Earlier estimates are a kind of fortune-telling on coffee grounds.