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Epidemiology

Deaths
Most people who contract COVID-19 recover. For those who do not, the time between the onset of symptoms and death usually ranges from 6 to 41 days, typically about 14 days. As of 30 July 2020, approximately 664,000 deaths had been attributed to COVID-19. In China, as of 14 June, about 80 percent of deaths were recorded in those aged over 60, and 75 percent had pre-existing health conditions including cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. Obese individuals are at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19.

The first confirmed death was in Wuhan on 9 January 2020. The first death outside of China occurred on 1 February in the Philippines, and the first death outside Asia was in France on 14 February.

Official deaths from COVID-19 generally refer to people who died after testing positive according to protocols. This may ignore deaths of people who die without having been tested. Conversely, deaths of people who had underlying conditions may lead to overcounting. Comparison of statistics for deaths for all causes versus the seasonal average indicates excess mortality in many countries. In the worst affected areas, mortality has been several times higher than average. In New York City, deaths have been four times higher than average, in Paris twice as high, and in many European countries, deaths have been on average 20 to 30 percent higher than normal. This excess mortality may include deaths due to strained healthcare systems and bans on elective surgery.

Multiple measures are used to quantify mortality. These numbers vary by region and over time, influenced by testing volume, healthcare system quality, treatment options, government response,  time since the initial outbreak, and population characteristics, such as age, sex, and overall health. Some countries (like Belgium) include deaths from suspected cases of COVID-19, regardless of whether the person was tested, resulting in higher numbers compared to countries that include only test-confirmed cases.

The death-to-case ratio reflects the number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 divided by the number of diagnosed cases within a given time interval. Based on Johns Hopkins University statistics, the global death-to-case ratio is 3.9 percent (664,748 deaths for 16,940,174 cases) as of 30 July 2020. The number varies by region.

Other measures include the case fatality rate (CFR), which reflects the percentage of diagnosed people who die from a disease, and the infection fatality rate (IFR), which reflects the percentage of infected (diagnosed and undiagnosed) who die from a disease. These statistics are not timebound and follow a specific population from infection through case resolution. Our World in Data states that as of 25 March 2020 the IFR cannot be accurately calculated as neither the total number of cases nor the total deaths, is known. In February the Institute for Disease Modeling estimated the IFR as 0.94 percent (95-percent confidence interval 0.37–2.9), based on data from China.  The University of Oxford's Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine (CEBM) estimated a global CFR of 0.8 to 9.6 percent (last revised 30 April) and IFR of 0.10 percent to 0.41 percent (last revised 2 May), acknowledging that this will vary between populations due to differences in demographics. The CDC estimates for planning purposes that the fatality rate among those who are symptomatic is 1.1 percent and that 40 percent of infected individuals are asymptomatic, for an overall infection fatality rate of 0.65 percent (0.5 to 0.8 percent).

Duration
On 11 March 2020, the WHO said the pandemic could be controlled.  The peak and ultimate duration of the outbreak are uncertain and may differ by location. Maciej Boni of Penn State University said, "Left unchecked, infectious outbreaks typically plateau and then start to decline when the disease runs out of available hosts. But it's almost impossible to make any sensible projection right now about when that will be." The Imperial College study led by Neil Ferguson stated that physical distancing and other measures will be required "until a vaccine becomes available (potentially 18 months or more)".  William Schaffner of Vanderbilt University said because the coronavirus is "so readily transmissible", it "might turn into a seasonal disease, making a comeback every year". The virulence of the comeback would depend on herd immunity and the extent of mutation.

wikipedia.org

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