A study by researchers at UCLA and Stanford shows that the chances of a healthy 50-64 year-old of dying from COVID-19 after a single random contact are one in 19.1 million. Based on this it is long past time to get back to normal.
The study by Rajiv Bhatia and Jeffrey Klausner was posted at medRXiv.
Results: Among US counties with populations greater than 500,000 people, during the week ending June 13,2020, the median estimate of the county level probability of a confirmed infection is 1 infection in 40,500 person contacts (Range: 10,100 to 586,000). For a 50 to 64 year-old individual, the median estimate of the county level probability of a hospitalization is 1 in 709,000 person contacts (Range: 177,000 to 10,200,000) and the median estimate of the county level probability of a fatality is 1 in 6,670,000 person contacts (Range 1,680,000 to 97,600.000).
Conclusions and Relevance: Estimates of the individual probabilities of COVID19 infection, hospitalization and death vary widely but may not align with public risk perceptions. Systematically collected and publicly reported data on infection incidence by, for example, the setting of exposure, type of residence and occupation would allow more precise estimates of probabilities than possible with currently available public data. Calculation of secondary attack rates by setting and better measures of the prevalence of seropositivity would further improve those estimates.
Dr. Bhatia wrote this about his findings:
“We were surprised how low the relative risk was,” Klausner said.
After months of living with COVID-19, we have more certainty. The virus is 10 times less fatal than we first thought. The vast majority who catch it will have mild or no symptoms. Children are largely spared.
California counties have not needed mutual health aid. Hospitals retooled quickly for a tsunami that never came. California hospitals have about 40% of their beds empty. Re-opening in steps is safe if we carefully watch new hospitalizations. If another wave comes, hospitals are prepared.
The Mercury News has more on the study:
The study found a 50-to-64-year-old person who has a single random contact has, on average, a 1 in 852,000 chance of being hospitalized or a 1 in 19.1 million chance of dying based on rates as of the last week of May.