The Sift Here’s what we’re Sifting today

WHO updates COVID-19 death stats

by Lynde Langdon
Posted 3/04/20, 11:29 am

The coronavirus outbreak has a higher overall mortality rate than previously thought. At 3.4 percent, it surpasses seasonal flu but falls short of the 10 percent death rate for severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) or the 34 percent rate for Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS)—both also coronaviruses. The World Health Organization noted Tuesday that the calculation does not include infected people who didn’t need medical attention. The mortality rate from the new coronavirus is much higher among the elderly and infirm than in the rest of the population.

What’s new in the fight against the disease? The United States, where nine people have died from COVID-19 in Washington state, revised coronavirus protocols so more people can get tested. Iran canceled Friday Islamic prayers to curtail the spread of the virus. Saudi Arabia banned its residents from going on Islamic pilgrimages to Mecca. And Italy decided to close all of its schools and universities until mid-March.

Dig deeper: Keep up with WORLD’s comprehensive coronavirus coverage.

Read more from The Sift Sign up for The Sift email
Lynde Langdon

Lynde is a WORLD Digital’s managing editor and reports on popular and fine arts. She lives in Wichita, Kan., with her husband and two daughters. Follow Lynde on Twitter @lmlangdon.

Read more from this writer


You must be a WORLD Member and logged in to the website to comment.
  • RC
    Posted: Wed, 03/04/2020 02:10 pm

    In the USA the mortality rate from Influenza and Pneumonia in 2017 was 55,672. From that number 46,862 were over 64 in age, or 84%. So the fact that coronavirus is more deadly to old people should not be unexpected.  The actual death rate is below 3.4%, simply because they have been unable to count many who got infected with it and did not report it. Many could have such mild symptoms they thought it was something else, like the common cold.        

  •  Soapbxn's picture
    Posted: Fri, 03/06/2020 10:53 pm

    I have a difficult time taking accepting information coming from WHO.  Most recently they have publicized a Corona virus world map that is very inaccurate and puts  Alaska way up in number of cases when in reality Alaska has had no cases so far. 

    There are already several corona viruses and most are not deadly and cause symptoms similar to a common cold.  A mild case of COVID-19 could easily be assumed to be a cold of some sort so wouldn't it be likely many people are not being counted?  I think posting alarming death rare percentages that may not be accurate is in itself dangerous, and irresponsible,  and only fueling panic.