COVID-19 may not be the mass killer it was cracked up to be

The researchers found that the percentage of infections was indeed vastly larger than the roughly 1,000 known positive cases in the county at the time of the study. The preliminary results—the research will now undergo peer review—show that between 2.5% and 4.2% of county residents are estimated to have antibodies against the virus. That translates into 48,000 to 81,000 infections, 50 to 85 times as high as the number of known cases.

That may sound scary, but it’s great news. It suggests that the large majority of people who contract Covid-19 recover without ever knowing they were infected, and that the U.S. infection fatality rate may be more than an order of magnitude lower than authorities had assumed. Based on this seroprevalence data, the authors estimate that in Santa Clara County the true infection fatality rate is somewhere in the range of 0.12% to 0.2%—far closer to seasonal influenza than to the original, case-based estimates.

The Wall Street Journal