10.04.2020 Article

COVID-19 - 2 new studies - what was left of the pandemic

By Johannes Kreis
COVID-19 - 2 new studies - what was left of the pandemic
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I like to point out 2 recent studies on the mortality of people with a positive SARS-CoV2 test.

John Ioannidis from Stanford University and Martin Posch from the Medical University of Vienna compared the death rates of people with a positive SARS-CoV2 test with the normal mortality in 2 independent studies.

Ioannidis et al. examined the risk of dying for people younger than 65 years and Posch et al. examined the age dependence of this death rate in relation to normal mortality. The peculiarity of Ioannidis et al. is that they put the risk of dying by or with COVID-19 in relation to the risk of dying in a car accident when commuting daily to work. Cf.

“Based on the data until April 4, for the whole COVID-19 fatality season to-date (starting with the date the first death was documented in each location) the risk of dying from coronavirus for a person <65 years old is equivalent to the risk of dying driving a distance of 9 to 415 miles by car per day during the COVID-19 fatality season.

Most of the hotbed locations that we analyzed are on the lower side of this range, where the risk of death is in the same level roughly as dying from a car accident during daily commute. The highest risk (in New York City) corresponds to the risk of dying in a traffic accident while travelling daily from Manhattan to Baltimore round trip for these 25 days. People who are 40-65 years old may have about double that risk, while those 40 years old or younger have almost no risk at all of dying. Moreover, females may have 2-3 lower risk than males.

These numbers correspond to the main epicenters of the pandemic, since our eligibility criteria were set explicitly to include the locations with the highest numbers of deaths. Therefore, for the vast majority of countries around the world and for the vast majority of states and cities in the USA with, the risk of death from COVID-19 this season for people <65 years old may be even smaller than the risk of dying from a car accident during daily commute.”

  • [German] Posch et al., "Erste Analysen österreichischer COVID-19 Sterbezahlen nach Alter und Geschlecht", IMS, Medizinische Universität Wien, 7.4.2020,

"Wir analysieren die Alters- und Geschlechtsverteilung der gemeldeten COVID-19 Verstorbenen in Österreich. Übereinstimmend mit internationalen Studien legen auch die österreichischen Daten nahe, dass das Sterberisiko mit dem Alter stark ansteigt. Die beobachtete Altersabhängigkeit ist konsistent mit der des allgemeinen jährlichen Sterberisikos in Österreich."

"First analysis of Austrian COVID-19 deaths by age and gender"

"We analyze the age and gender distribution of the reported COVID-19 deceased in Austria. In line with international studies, the Austrian data also suggest that the risk of death increases sharply with age. The observed age dependency is consistent with that of the general annual risk of death in Austria . "

Both results are consistent with official data from Germany, Italy, France, Spain and Switzerland on the median age of the deceased of 80+ years and multiple pre-existing conditions. In Italy, 50% of the deceased had 3 or more pre-existing conditions.

The very high numbers of symptomless people or people with mild symptoms but positive SARS-CoV2 tests already reported from Wuhan and confirmed in Europe and the USA also support these results. This should have played a role in the risk assessment before a lockdown. Why this was not the case will certainly have to be investigated.

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