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Covid-19: Be your own statistician
Make your own estimate of Covid-19 impact now and in the future. Here's the method I currently favor for ease of understanding, it closely tracks the more complex algorithm from the U/Washington IMHE. (7 Dec 2020)
1. Take number of known cases* (14,748,365).
2. Subtract the number of deaths to date (281,467) giving current morbidity of 14,466,898.
3. Multiply by current death:ratio (deaths:cases, averaged over ), now 0.191 giving expected future deaths at current rates of 276,317.
4. Add back deaths to date giving total anticipated deaths of 557,784.
This estimate is independent of any particular future date.

IMHE projects 539,000 by April 1, 2021. It seems reasonable that even if the number of new cases were zero, an additional 20,000 might succumb thereafter, so the two are similar in outcome. The calculation above projects 560,893 for the same date, a variance of about one percent.

Depending on the current vaccine developments to save people is perhaps a vain hope, according to the IMHE researchers and statisticians.

Assuming a vaccine were indeed 95% effective in preventing infections, it would have little immediate effect.

Ali Mokdad, Ph.D., a professor of Health Metrics Sciences at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at University of Washington in Seattle, said the vaccines won’t really impact our death rates until mid-2021 because it takes time to build up our collective immunity. Mokdad says his models show masks can save lives now and in the future.

“We are showing the total number of deaths from the beginning until April 1 to be 539,000 in the United States. If 95% of us wear a mask when we are outside our homes, we can save 66,000 lives between now and April 1,” Mokdad said.

—RC

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