Novel coronavirus (100) CORE Group: Call for Covid-19 preparedness and response resources (3)

6 March, 2020

One problem with the covid-19 numbers is that at the moment all we have is a simple death rate based on taking the number of reported cases as the denominator and the number of reported deaths as the numerator.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in the US alone, the flu has caused an estimated 32 million illnesses and 18,000 deaths this season, which gives a death rate of 0.56. With corvid-19, the reported figures a couple of days ago were around 3,000 deaths out of 89,000 sick, which give a figure of 3.37%. From this back-of-the-envelope calculation, corvid-19 appears to be about six times deadlier than the flu.

However, many light cases caused by corvid-19 which didn’t end in death have no doubt gone unreported, which would lower the figure.

All in all, we are still not close to having a mortality rate. WHO Director General Dr Tedros has been was very clear to stress that. Mr Trump is not helping with his guesstimates.

Chris Zielinski

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HIFA profile: Chris Zielinski: As a Visiting Fellow in the Centre for Global Health, Chris leads the Partnerships in Health Information (Phi) programme at the University of Winchester. Formerly an NGO, Phi supports knowledge development and brokers healthcare information exchanges of all kinds. Chris has held senior positions in publishing and knowledge management with WHO in Brazzaville, Geneva, Cairo and New Delhi, with FAO in Rome, ILO in Geneva, and UNIDO in Vienna. Chris also spent three years in London as Chief Executive of the Authors Licensing and Collecting Society. He was the founder of the ExtraMED project (Third World biomedical journals on CD-ROM), and managed the Gates Foundation-supported Health Information Resource Centres project. He served on WHO’s Ethical Review Committee, and was an originator of the African Health Observatory. Chris has been a director of the World Association of Medical Editors, UK Copyright Licensing Agency, Educational Recording Agency, and International Association of Audiovisual Writers and Directors. He has served on the boards of several NGOs and ethics groupings (information and computer ethics and bioethics). UK-based, he is also building houses in Zambia. chris AT

His publications are at and and his blogs are and