The CDC released new guidance for mathematical modelers and public health officials, with a rough estimate on how many of the novel coronavirus cases are actually asymptomatic – reaching the conclusion that around 35% of patients show no symptoms.
CDC’s New Numbers
The agency’s “best estimate” also shows that 0.4% of people who show symptoms and have the disease will die, with 40% of transmission occurring before people feel sick. The numbers, however, are subject to change as new information about COVID-19 comes out, and warned that the data is intended only for planning purposes, despite the estimates being made on real data collected before April 29.
The numbers are part of five planning scenarios, used by mathematical modelers “throughout the federal government,” the CDC said, with four of them representing the least and most severe scenarios. In the most severe scenario – the symptomatic case fatality rate sits at 1% of overall infected to die from the disease, and the number going down to 0.2% in the least severe scenario.
Biologist Carl Bergstrom of the University of Washington disagrees with the numbers, telling CNN that despite most of them looking “reasonable, the mortality rates shade far too low,” compared to the actual situation, giving New York City as an example.
The CDC said that the numbers aren’t predictions or estimates of COVID-19’s expected impact, and are instead intended to “advance public health preparedness and planning.” The agency, however, is still characterizing the figures as preliminary estimates from federal agencies.