The report here appeared in an American Magazine, and is written from a US perspective; but the conclusions are equally applicable to the UK. The data and charts come from the the Economisch Statistische Berichten (here, in Dutch.) The full article in the English language magazine is here.
A brief summary of the article, complete with tables, follows. (Comments by me in italics.)
What is the true infection fatality rate of COVID-19, broken down by age and health status? This is a simple question for which the CDC (or Public Health England in the UK) should have a clear answer by now, accompanied by a readable chart – a chart showing everyone’s demographic risk assessment so that we can better target our infection mitigation efforts. Yet it’s the one thing our government hasn’t done. Wonder why?
Take a look at this chart:
Data calculated from an antibody test of 4,000 blood donors conducted by Dutch blood bank Sanquin and presented to the Dutch House of Representatives in mid-April.
Study this chart for a few minutes and take in all the data – from the asymptomatic/mildly symptomatic rates to the hospital and fatality rates divided by age. You have to get to the 50-59 age group just to reach a 0.1% fatality rate, the level often cited as the overall death rate for the seasonal flu.
(I like the data in the last column which converts the percentage chance of dying to the overall probability. Most people understand probability, or chance, much more easily than a fractional percentage. I find probabiity one of the more interesting areas of maths, and did some serious thinking about it when my wife had cancer, with three operations and several bouts of sepsis. Over the years this happened I googled everything that she went through, including her probability of death at each point. I came to the conclusion that a 1 in 3 probability, or any probability greater than 1 in 10, scares us witless. A 1 in 100 chance is on the margins of worry, and any probability as low as 1 in 1,000 is something we ignore completely. On that basis, there is almost nothing on that chart to worry anybody.)
(Also note the date, April 16th. This data was all known a full month ago.)
They didn’t test kids under 20, but their fatality rate is likely near zero.
Moreover, several weeks later, another research group in the Netherlands did a second serology test that broke down even more groups and came up with almost identical results:
(I think the figure at the bottom of column three is a typo, and should say 50%)
As you can see, the death rate doesn’t even climb above 0.1% until you reach over 70, with a steep and dangerous growth of risk over 75 and 80. However, it’s important to remember that even those death rates might need to be cut in half for those outside nursing homes, given that half the deaths in most countries are in senior care facilities.
Why has our government not put out a similar chart? How many Americans (or Brits) even know that children have near-zero threat and anyone under 60 has next to no risk of dying from the virus? Even those between 60 and 69 are at much lower risk than anything the government has suggested and that the level of panic indicates.
But even this chart doesn’t tell the full story. The virus lopsidedly targets people with particular underlying conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes. Hence, the fatality rates from the Netherlands are likely much lower for healthy people. Remember, these fatalities rates are calculated by dividing the total deaths in that age group by the total extrapolated and estimated infections that have gone untested and unrecorded. But the numerator is lopsided, because almost all the actual deaths are among those with three or four very specific health problems. What is the fatality rate for a 70-year-old without those conditions, much less someone much younger? Clearly, a lot lower, and we need to know that data. In most states, (of the USA) well over 90% of those who died of COVID-19 had serious underlying conditions.
(In short, the risk level for most of us is vanishingly small. Goverment action should have focussed on vulnerable groups, such as over-80’s with diabetes and heart disease and living in a care home. Locking up the young and healthy is utterly absurd.)
(The article continues to point out that Covid is very much a New York problem. The New York death rate is some 1,400 per million. The worst death rate in any other major city or country is Belgium with 780 per million. Sweden, with no lockdown, is 360. Japan, with a very mild lockdown, is just 6! The Japanese figure is explained here. Nobody has yet even come near to a satisfactory explanation of the New York figures. The media love to refer to them endlessly. For most us all that really matters is that we don’t live in New York, so those numbers are not relevant to us. Data from worldometer.info.)