Dr. Atlas: Science says It’s Time to Start Easing the Lockdowns
First, we know the risk of dying from COVID-19 is far lower than initially thought, and not significant for the overwhelming majority of those infected.
Multiple recent studies from Iceland, Germany, USC, Stanford and New York City all suggest that the fatality rate if infected is likely far lower than early estimates, perhaps under 0.1 to 0.4 percent, i.e., 10 to 40 times lower than estimates that motivated extreme isolation.
In the Big Apple, with almost one-third of all US deaths, the rate of death for all people ages 18 to 45 is 0.01 percent, or 13 per 100,000 in the population, one-eightieth of the rate for people age 75 and over. For people under 18, the rate of death is zero per 100,000. Of Empire State fatalities, almost two-thirds were over 70 years of age. And regardless of age, if you don’t already have an underlying chronic condition, your chances of dying are small. Of 7,959 NYC COVID-19 deaths fully investigated for underlying conditions, 99.2 percent had an underlying illness.
Second, protecting older, at-risk people helps prevent hospital overcrowding. Of New York City’s 38,000 hospitalizations, less than 1 percent have been patients under 18 years of age. Studying 4,103 confirmed COVID-19 patients with symptoms bad enough to seek medical care, Dr. Leora Horwitz of NYU Medical Center concluded: “Age is far and away the strongest risk factor for hospitalization.”
Recent studies show a far more widespread rate of infection and lower rate of serious illness than early World Health Organization reports that noted 80 percent of all cases were mild. The vast majority of younger, otherwise healthy people don’t get hospitalized.