New Data Suggest the Coronavirus Isn’t as Deadly as We Thought - WSJ
"The Covid-19 shutdowns have been based on the premise that the disease would kill more than two million Americans absent drastic actions to slow its spread.
That model assumed case fatality rates—the share of infected people who die from the disease—of 1% to 3%.
The World Health Organization’s estimated case-fatality rate was 3.4%.
...The preliminary results—the research will now undergo peer review—show that between 2.5% and 4.2% of county residents are estimated to have antibodies against the virus.
That translates into 48,000 to 81,000 infections, 50 to 85 times as high as the number of known cases.
That may sound scary, but it’s great news.
It suggests that the large majority of people who contract Covid-19 recover without ever knowing they were infected, and that the U.S. infection fatality rate may be more than an order of magnitude lower than authorities had assumed.
Based on this seroprevalence data, the authors estimate that in Santa Clara County the true infection fatality rate is somewhere in the range of 0.12% to 0.2%—far closer to seasonal influenza than to the original, case-based estimates.
...Yet if policy makers were aware from the outset that the Covid-19 death toll would be closer to that of seasonal flu than the millions of American deaths predicted by early models dependent on inputs that now look inaccurate, would they have risked tens of millions of jobs and livelihoods?...