(Reuters) – Global deaths from COVID-19 have reached 1 million, but experts are still struggling to figure out a crucial metric in the pandemic: the fatality rate – the percentage of people infected with the pathogen who die.
Here is a look at issues surrounding better understanding the COVID-19 death rate.
How is a death rate calculated?
A true mortality rate would compare deaths against the total number of infections, a denominator that remains unknown because the full scope of asymptomatic cases is difficult to measure. Many people who become infected simply do not experience symptoms.
Scientists have said the total number of infections is exponentially higher than the current number of confirmed cases, now at 33 million globally. Many experts believe the coronavirus likely kills 0.5% to 1% of people infected, making it a very dangerous virus globally until a vaccine is identified.
Researchers have begun to break down