The coronavirus may not be as deadly as previously suggested, according to a new study that accounts for cases that were not diagnosed.
The study published Monday in the medical journal The Lancet Infectious Diseases estimated that the death rate will be 0.66%, which is much lower than figures between 2% and 3.4% that have come out of Wuhan, China, according to CNN.
Researchers said the lower coronavirus mortality rate was determined by accounting for cases that went undiagnosed — possibly because they were mild or had no symptoms.
To do this, researchers used modeling based on the number of detected cases among repatriated citizens who were aggressively tested for the virus.
But in line with other studies, the researchers found that the majority of fatalities are among adults who were age 80 or older.
“There might be outlying cases that get a lot of media attention, but our analysis very clearly shows that at aged 50 and over, hospitalization is much more likely than in those under 50, and a greater proportion of cases are likely to be fatal,” Azra Ghani, a professor at Imperial College London and an author of the study, said in a statement.
Researchers noted the death rate for coronavirus is still “substantially higher” than the flu, which leads to death in 0.1% of cases.
“Even though the fatality rate is low for younger people, it is very clear that any suggestion of COVID-19 being just like influenza is false,” Shigui Ruan, a professor in the department of mathematics at the University of Miami, wrote in an accompanying commentary.