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Ask HN: Why are Covid-19 death rates low in US
4 points by quietthrow 2 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 4 comments
Serious question. Italy has a ~10% death rate. Spain is pretty higher too. So what’s driving the difference? Is it treatment or otherwise that results in a low death rate for us?

US ~70k infections ~1k deaths Italy ~75k infections ~7.5k deaths Spain ~55k infections ~4K deaths.

What’s causing the difference? Treatment, numbers misreported or something else ?

Data source “johns Hopkins covid dashboard”






First, the rate is not very low in the US, relative to places like Germany.

Second, the 'death rate' is not a matter of deaths/cases, because the # of cases is very much dependent on testing. More testing is more likely to yield the cases that are not aggressive. So we'll have to do a lot more testing everywhere to get a real picture.

Third, there's a delay in all of these numbers, they eventually converge, but if there's a period where there's 'big change' in whatever measure, it will take a few weeks at least to even crudely converge. The US is just starting now to get hit with a lot of hospitalizations, so the death rate will probably spike a little bit.

Long term, it may be due to things like average age, the quality of care, how hard the hospitals were hit (i.e. if some people were turned away because of overflow) death rates will be higher.

Of course, the overall death rate/capita (not deaths/infected) will likely to be due to how hard the nation was able to adapt, shut down etc. and how bad the inherent r0 was in the first place as there is evidence that it's slower moving in warmer climates.


USA is starting to do a lot of tests. Same for Germany.

So virtually keeping the death rate low.

Other countries are testing only people already sick with a lot of symptoms (==hospitalized). If we were testing "everyone", dead rate would be lower in Italy,...,...


Most hospitals in the U.S. are only starting to reach the point of ICU overcapacity, staff shortages, and ventilators. Italy and Spain are about 1-2 weeks ahead of the U.S.

That makes sense top of my head. Hospitals overfilled with patients and understaffed with medical pros and resources means more sick people will go untreated and hence higher probability of deaths. So if what you state holds water then in two/three weeks we should be seeing the rate go up drastically. Right in time for the economy to be “raring” to go according the nations leaders and imbecile in chief



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