Angela Merkel sparked excitement last week when she announced that “60 to 70% of the German population was going to be infected with the coronavirus ” This estimate, which was taken up by the Minister of Education Jean-Michel Blanquer this weekend, immediately aroused alarmist calculations on social networks. While the media relay the idea that the mortality rate of covid-19 is between 1 and 3%, Internet users have calculated that by applying this percentage to 60 or 70% of the French population, we would arrive at an assessment between 500,000 and over a million dead.
But if the severity of the epidemic is no longer in doubt, we must be careful not to make hasty calculations. Angela Merkel took a figure from the director of the virology institute of the Berlin Charity hospital, Christian Drosten, who gave some details. The researcher first estimates that the mortality rates that are currently being discussed are much higher than reality. Because a large part of the patients actually suffer from mild symptoms, or even do not know any symptoms, and are therefore not diagnosed positive. If included in the positive cases, mortality would drop significantly. Christian Drosten thus expects a mortality of between 0.3 and 0.7%. If we take 0.5, we would reach 280,000 dead for Germany, he said.
But this figure, which is not certain, has little meaning without the time component, he insists. Because the contagion of 50 to 70% of a population he evokes, if it were to be reached, could take years, he insists. Other epidemiologists contacted by Désintox also consider it very premature to make such projections, given these unknowns.
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