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Coronavirus: Mortality Rates

Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN HL2375, tabled on 9 March 2020

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made, if any, of the World Health Organisation's estimate of the mortality rate of COVID-19.

Answered on

23 March 2020

Estimates on mortality rates are fluid as the raw data continues to change. The number of cases who have shown no symptoms and have now recovered cannot be known until a test is developed to identify this new immunity. This test is under urgent development globally.

The World Health Organization has quoted a 3.4% mortality rate, but this figure was calculated by dividing the number of deaths, by the number of officially confirmed cases, which results in a higher estimated figure. We believe this number does not reflect the actual mortality rate, with other important elements factored in.

United Kingdom Government figures on mortality rates include assumptions that there are many more mild cases, that do not get to hospital and are therefore not being counted. Chris Whitty, the Chief Medical Officer, believes it will prove to be 1% or lower, once we factor in the currently unknown figures.