Proft: The Question the Incomplete Data Demands

36 states have COVID-19 death rates of 1 or less than 1 per 100,000.

According to the CDC, the overall death rate in America in 2018 was 724 per 100,000.

For influenza and pneumonia it was 15 per 100,000. Projecting COVID-19’s lethality rate is tricky because of the lack of a denominator on the infected. However, CDC guesstimates 25 to 50 percent of infected are asymptomatic. There’s a good chance lethality rates could be much lower than current reporting indicates.

Bristol University risk management professor Philip Thomas projects once mitigation efforts result in a GDP contraction of more than 6.84%– more lives will be lost than saved. Studies of previous recessions suggest that for every 1 percent point increase in unemployment, the suicide rate increases by 1 per 100,000.

Given what we know about COVID-19 and about the lives economic ruin takes, is a prolonged shutdown the right call?