CV19 infection rates are increasing, but death rates are decreasing?

In summary, the increase in cases and death rates is most likely due to the disparity in the age distribution of the cases. Governments and healthcare workers are getting better at dealing with cases, but the death rate is still decreasing.
  • #1
ElliotSmith
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TL;DR Summary
CV19 numbers are increasing, but deaths are decreasing, why?
CV19 infection numbers are increasing substantially throughout the world, but deaths from the virus are steadily decreasing, why is this?

Does this mean that the virus is becoming less virulent?
 
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  • #2
Not necessarily. The US has experienced a resurgence in the number of cases here in the last week or so, but since the virus can take upwards of two weeks to manifest symptoms the death rate may lag behind the infection rate somewhat.

Also, and I say this with utterly no knowledge of if it's true or not, governments and healthcare workers may be getting better at dealing with cases as time passes and they gain experience, equipment, etc.

ElliotSmith said:
but deaths from the virus are steadily decreasing

Hmm. I just looked at the WHO website after typing the first part of the post and doesn't appear that deaths are decreasing. At best they appear to be relatively steady.
 
  • #3
Drakkith said:
Hmm. I just looked at the WHO website after typing the first part of the post and doesn't appear that deaths are decreasing. At best they appear to be relatively steady.

Back in April/May the case rates were running at about 80,000 - 90,000 per day, and the death rate at 7,000 - 8,000 per day. In June the global case rate has increased to 125,000 - 190,000 per day, but the death rate is about 3,000 - 5,000 per day.

There is a large disparity between the first wave (which was predominantly Western Europe and North America) and the current wave (which is more generally everywhere except Western Europe).

In any case, there is also a huge disparity in the death rate geographically. See, for example:

https://www.physicsforums.com/threa...tainment-efforts.983707/page-141#post-6360819
 
  • #4
@PeroK My apologies, I was only looking at roughly the last month or so, as the OP seemed to me to be referring to the very recent past. I should have stated that in my post.
 
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  • #5
The number of confirmed cases may be fewer than the true number of cases, depending on how many people are tested and who is tested. So one must distinguish between the confirmed case fatality rate (CFR) and the infection fatality rate (IFR). The latter is the "true" death rate, whose estimate has not changed much. Early reports placed it between 0.3% to 1%, where it currently still is.
https://www.who.int/docs/default-so...0219-sitrep-30-covid-19.pdf?sfvrsn=3346b04f_2
https://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473-3099(20)30243-7/fulltext
https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-01738-2

I have put "true" in quotes, as even if we detect all cases, improved treatment might reduce the death rate over time. Some of these improvements might be having health care systems that are not overwhelmed due to safe distancing measures slowing the spread of the disease, earlier oxygen for potentially severe cases, use of dexamethasone etc.
 
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  • #6
I think it's mostly due the change in the age distribution of (new) cases.
As I recall among the new cases the average age is rather low.

It would be interesting to see if there is any change in 'mortality ratio by age groups' type statistics over time. That could confirm whether there is anything else in this or not.
 
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  • #7
There has been a 10-14 day lag for mortalities to show a concomitant increase, as well. Mortalities for the same patient cohort are also down because the ICU physicians (in the US) have made advances in treatment as well as understanding the biochemistry and required pharmacology to cope with oxidative stress and subsequent inflammation (cytokine storm) - i.e, dexamethasone.

There is a lot more to this.

Consider viewing the Medcram Covid-19 ongoing series on youtube. Most are less then 15 minutes. Virtually every question that has been asked on PF has been given thorough and complete - as far as is known - answers that anyone with secondary school biology and freshman math/chemistry can immediately grasp.

Here is a list of all sessions - as of 18:43 6/30/2020


My current favorite session is the use of the DISCERN tool to weed out garbage or pointless Covid-19 "information" content on the internet.
 
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  • #8
jim mcnamara said:
Mortalities for the same patient cohort are also down because the ICU physicians (in the US) have made advances in treatment as well as understanding the biochemistry and required pharmacology to cope with oxidative stress and subsequent inflammation (cytokine storm) - i.e, dexamethasone.
Could you please recommend a site with actual/up to date statistics of this kind?

Is there any change in hospitalization rate too?
 
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  • #9
There is one RCT on dexamethasone which shows improved patient survival - the RECOVERY study was terminated early, data has been published. The trial was terminated early for ethical reasons: Patient improvement - start here
https://www.recoverytrial.net/

Dexamethasone is now in use, usually on a hospital by hispital basis which results in a crazy crazy quilt.
The CDC will have to suggest it officially before some entities will consider its use.

There are other ongoing RCT's so you can see what is being studied:
https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/search

Because of the unreliable nature of internet sources other than google scholar, use that search engine and you can search for clinical studies (largely observational, not RCT).

Example try 'covid-19 proning', 'covid-19 age class mortality'

There is no completely reliable mortality data US wide because of local regulations which result in some hard to understand results. In other words confounding (or confusing) reporting practices. The JHU site displays what is officially published by local entities. An example of 'hard to understand' is Texas. They do not report hospitalization rates and some other data, plus the number of deaths seems relatively low, IMO.

The dashboard boxes have switch bars so the main display will show various data as different colored round blobs - you can pick the level of administrative granularity - Admin0, Admin1, Admin2. This shows current death rates.

https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/ go into the dashboard
Use the analytics section and you can see relative death rate reductions in states over time. Or some increases, too. Decreasing mortality rates may also continue as the fraction of younger people under hospital care increases in in-patient populations.

Dexmethasone is a win, however.
 
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Related to CV19 infection rates are increasing, but death rates are decreasing?

1. Why are infection rates increasing while death rates are decreasing?

There are a few reasons for this phenomenon. One possible explanation is that testing capabilities have improved, leading to more accurate detection and reporting of cases. Additionally, as the pandemic has progressed, people have become more aware of preventative measures such as wearing masks and social distancing, which can help slow the spread of the virus. Furthermore, the virus may be mutating into a less deadly form.

2. Are the decreasing death rates a sign that the virus is becoming less dangerous?

Not necessarily. While it is possible that the virus is mutating into a less deadly form, it is also important to consider that the demographics of those being infected may be changing. For example, if younger, healthier individuals are being infected at a higher rate, this could contribute to a decrease in death rates. It is important to continue following preventative measures and monitoring the situation closely.

3. How accurate are the reported death rates?

The reported death rates are based on the number of confirmed deaths due to COVID-19. However, it is important to note that there may be cases where a person dies from COVID-19 but is not included in the reported death count due to factors such as limited testing availability or the cause of death being attributed to underlying health conditions. Therefore, the reported death rates may not be completely accurate, but they still provide valuable information about the severity of the situation.

4. Will the decreasing death rates continue?

It is difficult to predict the future trajectory of the pandemic and whether the decreasing death rates will continue. Factors such as the implementation of preventative measures, the availability of effective treatments, and the development of a vaccine will all play a role in determining the outcome. It is important to continue monitoring the situation and following guidelines from health officials to help slow the spread of the virus.

5. How can we interpret the data on increasing infection rates and decreasing death rates?

It is important to consider the data on infection and death rates in context and not make assumptions based on one piece of information. While the decreasing death rates may be a positive sign, it is still crucial to take precautions and prevent further spread of the virus. Additionally, the data may vary depending on location, so it is important to look at trends and patterns in your specific area. As always, it is important to follow guidelines from health officials and continue practicing preventative measures to protect yourself and others.

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