AAP Fact Check:
Is the fatality rate for COVID-19 marginally worse than the seasonal flu?
“The Ioannidis study shows that mortality (for COVID-19) is only marginally worse than the standard flu virus that kills hundreds of sick and elderly New Zealanders each year.”
Simon Thornley, Senior Lecturer in Epidemiology, University of Auckland. September 6, 2020.
A group for New Zealand to relax restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 claims the virus is marginally worse than the seasonal flu.
Was made by COVID Plan B, A group of six academics including three health science lecturers. The group has COVID-19 called for end of lockdown, The risk of viruses is reduced and lockdowns are more harmful than viruses.
On September 6 during an interview with Jack Tame on TVNZ’s Q + A, Representative of the group and Auckland Epidemiology Lecturer Simon Thornley University New Zealand’s COVID-19 response was inspired by fear and panic and was inappropriate and irrational. (Video mark 1 minute).
Dr. “The Ionidis study shows that the death rate is much lower than just the standard flu virus, which kills hundreds of sick and elderly New Zealanders each year,” Thornley said.
“The response must be measured, as if we planned for a low mortality epidemic, not a lockdown.
“We have sacrificed our humanity, our society and our economy for the wrong virus.”
AAP FactCheck Dr. Thornley’s statement examined that mortality rates for COVID-19 are only marginally worse than for seasonal flu.
Dr. Thornley stated that his statement was based on July 14, 2020 Report good by Stanford University Epidemiology Professor John PA Ioannidis.
Non-peer reviewed reports provide a meta analysis of 36 studies that looked at the prevalence of COVID-19 antibodies in the population to determine the virus-infected portion.
It can be used to more accurately calculate the proportion of people who die after catching the virus, which is called Infection Fatality Ratio (IFR).
Dr. Eonidis found that the estimated IFR in the study ranged from 0 percent to 1.63 percent, and a mean of 0.27 percent. (Page 2)
Dr. Thornley also directed AAP Factcheck Service A study that looks at the prevalence of COVID-19 in the state of Indiana And it was estimated that IFR was 0.26 percent. However, that study did not include the deaths of nursing home residents, which accounted for 54.9 percent of COVID-19 deaths in the state.
Dr. Thornley said the IFR for the seasonal flu, “but is usually quoted at less than 0.5 percent” and reported A 2009 study stated that 0.5 percent for the fatal rate for the flu was “similar to the upper limit”. Report Refers to a webpage From america Centers for Disease Control and Prevention On influenza (CDC) as the source of this data, although this webpage does not currently include flu fatality rates, and the page archives for 2009 also do not show flu IFR.
A flu IFR of 0.5 would be similar to the upper limit for COVID-19. However, other research has put the IFR for COVID-19 significantly higher, and the IFR for the flu significantly lower.
Another non-peer reviewed meta-analysis of COVID-19 infection fatality ratio Looked at 24 studies and estimated the IFR to be 0.68 percent – almost three times that found by Ionidis. (Page 2)
The authors noted a high degree of variance between the various studies and stated that their estimate of IFR was potentially low. (page 3).
The World Health Organization (WHO) has Estimated estimates for IFR for COVID-19 “changed to about 0.5 – 1 percent” Based on three studies – two in Switzerland and one in Stockholm, Sweden.
By contrast, The WHO states that “the death rate is generally less than 0.1 percent.” For seasonal influenza, which suggests that COVID-19 fatality rates are five to 10 times higher than those of flu.
Between July 10 and September 9, the website archives show that the CDC has officially estimated an IFR for COVID-19 per infection at 0.0065 deaths or 0.65 percent (Table 1). These figures were replaced with a breakdown of IFR estimates by age limit on 10 September.
Overall, CDC data on the number of flu deaths each year show that nearly five times more people have already died from COVID-19 in the US.
Between 2010/11 and 2018/19, Every year, the number of people who died of flu in the US ranged from 12,000 to 61,000. On average, there were 37,462 flu deaths, while the number of people with flu symptoms ranged from 9.3m to 45m for an average of 28.6m (Table 1).
Using average figures, which do not include asymptomatic cases, it would put a crude IFR at 0.13 percent. However A meta-analysis found in 4 to 85 percent of people with the flu is asymptomatic..
In contrast, until 10 September, The US had already recorded 188,608 COVID-19 deaths..
University of Otago public health professor Nick Wilson Has published several papers on pandemic influenza in New Zealand and stated that IFR for COVID-19 was significantly higher than for seasonal flu.
He said that while he was not aware of the study that calculated the IFR directly for the flu, A. Study 2017 On average, 0.0135 percent of people die from the flu each year.
As An estimated 10 to 20 percent of New Zealanders catch seasonal influenza every yearThis suggests an IFR between 0.0675 percent and 0.135 percent.
Professor Michael Baker of the University of Otago Epidemiology Dr. Thornley’s statement “is not supported by evidence generated in New Zealand”, agreed.
He said a A comprehensive study of influenza rates in the country found that about 35 percent are infected with the virus each year., Which would put the IFR for the flu even lower, at around 0.04 percent.
This would mean that the fatal rate for COVID-19 was seven times higher than seasonal flu based on Ionidis data, or about 18 times higher than the 0.68 percent rate. From another meta-analysis, Or 16 times higher, based on the 0.65 percent rate quoted by the CDC.
Auckland University epidemiologist Professor Rod Jackson The findings of the Ionidis study were criticized. They stated that the lethality ratios they used were obtained using the study’s measurable data, which had widely varying results and were therefore unreliable.
“This is a very different conjecture from completely different studies when there is no one to review the evidence,” said Pro Jackson.
He said that the Ioannidis included in his meta-analysis were also based on specific sub-populations – cities or regions – and the tests were conducted in a relatively short period of time, which could also yield inaccurate results.
Prof Jackson stated that his own unpublished research found that the IFR for COVID-19 was close to one percent.
He even pointed Other research Compared to the number of COVID-19 deaths a week in the US and the number of flu deaths a week in an average year, it was found that COVID-19 was 44.1 times more fatal than 9.5.
AAP FactCheck The statement found that the fatality rate for COVID-19 is only marginally worse than that of seasonal flu, which is mostly inaccurate.
While a meta-analysis by Stanford University epidemiology professor John PA Ianidis actually found that the COVID-19 infection fatality ratio was about 0.27 percent, the study has been criticized as flawed, and WHO and CDC data COVID-19 Suggest Much more deadly than seasonal flu.
The number of people in the US who died of COVID-19 in the first nine months of the outbreak is already five times the number of flu deaths in a normal year.
Three leading New Zealand epidemiologists, who have written in detail on influenza, have assumed that the fatalities ratio for COVID-19 is significantly higher than seasonal flu, based on several studies.
Mostly wrong – A claim with a minor element of truth is mostly false.
* AAP FactCheck The Poynter Institute is accredited by the International Fact-Checking Network, which promotes best practice through a stringent and transparent Code of Principles. https://aap.com.au/