New CDC, NY Data Confirm Low COVID-19 Risk for Healthy Individuals

Posted on April 18, 2020

*Update: Numbers current as of 4/30*

Recently, the CDC added demographic data for both case and death totals in the US. Accounting for nearly 450,000 cases and 11,000 deaths, here’s how the numbers break down by age group:

Age % of Total Cases % of Total Deaths
0-44 Years 50% 3%
45–64 years 47% 18%
65–74 years 15% 21%
75+ years 16% 58%

Taking a look at just the death %s, we can see the risk of death for people under 45 is very low, at 3% of total deaths. We also see that people 75 and older account for more than half of all deaths.

But what about survivability? Now that we have % breakdowns for cases and deaths for these age groups, we can calculate how likely a person is to survive in each age group. We can calculate age group survivability like this:

100 * (1- (Age Group Death Total / Age Group Case Total ))

Let’s use the % breakdowns to project survivability as of 4/30. On 4/30, the total number of known cases was 1073516 and the total number of deaths was 62906. When we break the numbers down by age group, here’s what we get:

Age Total Deaths Total Cases Survivability Rate (All Health Conditions)
0-44 Years 1746 536772 99.67%
45–64 years 11158 501071 97.77%
65–74 years 13519 155922 91.33%
75+ years 36483 175099 79.16%

Looking at the numbers, we can see that for people under 45, the chances of survival after contracting COVID-19 are extremely high at 99.67%. We also see that the chances of survival rapidly decreases for the 65 and older demographic.

But there’s an important aspect that needs to be considered: comorbidity. Having a comorbidity appears to drastically decrease the chance of survival with COVID-19. When the state of New York broke down their death numbers by associated comorbidity, they found that 89.2% of people who died had at least 1 of the following serious health conditions: hypertension, hyperlipidemia, coronary artery disease, dementia, renal disease, atrial fibrilation, COPD, cancer, and stroke. What this also means is that only 10.8% of deaths occurred in people without a serious underlying health condition.

When we use the New York comorbidity % to factor out comorbidities from the death totals (11% * death totals for each age group), we can see that for healthy people, the risk of dying from COVID-19 is very low for most people that contract the disease:

Age Deaths (Healthy Individuals) Survivability Rate (Healthy Individuals)
0-44 Years 158 99.95%
45–64 years 1205 99.76%
65–74 years 1460 99.06%
75+ years 3940 97.75%

What these numbers confirm is that:

  1. People with a lower chance of survival from COVID-19 are those over 65, especially those over 65 with serious underlying health conditions. People in these older age groups, with or without underlying health conditions, need to be supported until effective therapies emerge which decrease the death rate.
  2. People in the 45-64 age group with serious underlying health conditions also need to be supported until effective therapies emerge. People in this age group with no underlying health conditions have a very high chance of survival.
  3. People in the 0-44 age group have an extremely high chance of survival with COVID-19, even when factoring in comorbidities.

P.S. A newly-released Stanford study estimated that the actual case count may be 50 times higher than reported. If this is in fact the reality on the ground, the survivability for all age groups, regardless of health condition, would be over 99%.