Just 0.05% of healthy under-70s who get Covid19 will die from it

Just 0.05% of healthy under-70s who get Covid19 will die from it

Covid-19 may actually only kill one in 2,000 healthy people under the age of 70, according to research.

Dr John Ioannidis, from Stanford University, claims the infection-fatality rate (IFR) could be as low as 0.05 per cent in a review of antibody surveillance studies. 

His estimate — published by the World Health Organization — is five times lower than his previous claim that the IFR for all age groups stood at 0.25 per cent. For comparison, seasonal flu kills around 0.1 per cent of everyone it infects.

The scientist based his new estimate in under-70s on data from 61 different testing surveys carried out worldwide. He did not present an official estimate for the death rate in over-70s but suggested it was similar to 0.25 per cent.

Experts have yet to agree on exactly how deadly the virus is. The WHO says 0.6 per cent of those who get Covid-19 die overall.

Dr Ioannidis used antibody studies — which are considered the best way to discover the true size of Covid-19 outbreaks — to work out the IFR.

Seroprevalence samples carried out on 9,343 Britons by the ONS suggest one in 16 people would have the antibodies in their bloodstream if everyone was tested today — or up to 3.2million people.

In Dr Ioannidis' study published in the WHO's Bulletin, which claims to have been peer-reviewed, 82 estimates of the IFR from 61 studies carried out across the world were used.

Antibody prevalence in the samples ranged from as low as 0.1 per cent in the Bay Area, California, to 53.4 per cent in Barrio Padre Mugica, Argentina.

Dr Ioannidis took the data from each region and divided the number of Covid-19 deaths by the number of people estimated to be infected, to give a median infection fatality rate of 0.27 per cent. 

He then says that, when people over 70 were removed from the figure, the median IFR falls to 0.05 per cent.