Researchers will use the infection fatality rate in order to understand how to respond to a brand new disease. However, this entire thing is very challenging to calculate.
One of the essential questions about infectious diseases, like the one we’re dealing with right now in the world, is how deadly it actually is. After months of gathering data, we might finally have an answer.
They use a metric called infection fatality rate (IFR) in order to calculate how dangerous a new disease actually is. According to Robert Verity, an epidemiologist at Imperial College London, “The IFR is one of the important numbers alongside the herd immunity threshold, and has implications for the scale of an epidemic and how seriously we should take a new disease.” It is really the proportion of the infected people who will die as a result – including those who don’t show symptoms or don’t get tested.
If we are to calculate an accurate IFR, we must understand how difficult it is, especially since we’re in the middle of an outbreak. It relies on how many people are infected and not only on those who are confirmed. The fatality rate is quite difficult to see when it comes to COVID-19.
This is because there are so many people out there that have mild or no symptoms at all, and nobody knows if they have the virus or not. Also, the time between the infection and death can actually be two months. Countries find it hard to count all the deaths related to the virus. Some of these deaths are missed in the official counts.
Data gathered from the beginning of the pandemic actually overestimated how deadly the virus was, and then it underestimated how dangerous it was. 5 out of 10 people will die for every 1000 people with the virus. Russel stated, “The studies I have any faith in are tending to converge around 0.5–1%.”
So do we actually know how deadly the virus us? We have an overall idea.