Minnesota’s Border Battles: COVID-19 edition
Last year, I wrote a report titled ‘Minnesota’s Border Battles‘ in which I compared the economic outcomes in Minnesota counties bordering other states with the outcomes in the border counties…
With the novel Coronavirus, new information keeps coming out every now and then. This is quite understandable considering the nature of the pandemic. Indeed there has been a general understanding of who is more at risk with the coronavirus. That has been people with already existing medical conditions and the elderly. Basically, everyone who does not have enough immunity toward new infections.
For the most part, COVID-19 mortality rates have only take into account the number of infected people who tested positive for the coronavirus. These numbers even though they show the risk of death for someone clinically sick from the virus, do not show the true risk just being infected by the virus. Because a huge number of patients do not show symptoms of high mortality rates overstate the true mortality rates among infected people.
To correct for this, multiple studies have been underway using antibody tests to detect the presence of antibodies to the coronavirus. They show a sign that a person had been infected with the virus at some point but recovered. This gives a somewhat more accurate view of the number of infections.
And the good news from these tests so far is that the virus is less deadly than previously thought but still nevertheless dangerous.
The tests are finding large numbers of people in the U.S. who were infected but never became seriously ill. And when these mild infections are included in coronavirus statistics, the virus appears less dangerous.
On the downside, however, this also means that there is a much higher number of infected people who do not show any signs at all and will easily spread the disease around.
The current estimates for mortality rates, when calculated only out of people who got sick enough to be diagnosed is 5%. This is in contrast to the lower mortality rate when antibody tests are included. The mortality rates stay between .5 and 1% which is still more fatal than the flu but less deadly than imagined.
Antibody testing in Indiana for example revealed that the Covid-19 infection fatality rate turned out to be 0.58%. And that of New york turned out to be .5%. Studies in other states have even suggested lower fatality rates but the results are not certain.
Understandably, infection fatality rates are different depending on demographics. Persons with underlying health conditions and the elderly are still at a huge risk compared to some others. But antibody testing should give a more clear understanding of the risks the majority of the population faces and therefore guide reopening decisions.