My GMU Econ colleague Dan Klein recently recommended the posts on Covid-19 by Sebastian Rushworth. I’ve so far read a few of them and find them to be useful. Here’s a slice from Rushworth’s November 29th, 2020, post titled “How many years of life are lost to covid?“:
Since then, professor [John] Ioannidis has updated his figures. The newer numbers have been published in The European Journal of Clinical Investigation. The modifications have been made to compensate for the fact that the earlier estimates were extrapolated from the countries that were hardest hit by covid. When this is accounted for, the new estimate is that covid kills around 0,15-0,20% of those infected, so around one in 600 infected people die of the disease overall. Among people under 70 years of age, the revised estimate is that 0,03-0,04% die, which is around one in 3,000.
However, professor Ioannidis also mentions that the fatality rate varies a lot between countries, related to varying levels of risk factors. As I mentioned in a previous article, the main risk factor for dying of covid is obesity. So countries with high levels of obesity will be hit harder than countries with low levels, which likely explains why the US has been hit so much harder by covid than Japan. Other health related factors that increase the risk of dying of covid are high age, organ transplantation, uncontrolled diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, liver failure, kidney failure, and cancer. Basically, the things that predispose you to dying in the near future more generally, also predispose you to dying of covid.