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Symptomatic COVID-19 Infection Fatality Rate 1.3 Percent in U.S.

County-specific infection fatality rates for symptomatic cases varied from 0.5 to 3.6 percent

sick patient in hospital bed

FRIDAY, May 8, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- The overall infection fatality rate (IFR) among symptomatic COVID-19 cases (IFR-S) in the United States is estimated at 1.3 percent, according to a report published online May 7 in Health Affairs.

Anirban Basu, Ph.D., from the University of Washington in Seattle, fit a statistical model to COVID-19 case fatality rates over time at the U.S. county level to estimate the COVID-19 IFR among symptomatic cases using data through April 20, 2020.

Basu found that the IFR-S was estimated at 1.3 percent in the United States, with variation in county-specific rates from 0.5 to 3.6 percent. When accounting for cases that remain and recover without symptoms, the overall IFR for COVID-19 should be lower.

"Our COVID-19 IFR-S estimate is not outside the ballpark of estimates becoming available from other countries, but certainly lower, as expected from addressing the upward bias in those estimates," Basu writes. "Our estimates of the COVID-19 IFR-S in the United States can help disease and policy modelers to obtain more accurate predictions for the epidemiology of the disease and the impact of alternative policy levers to contain this pandemic."

Basu received compensation from Salutis Consulting.

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