Mid-Epidemic Case Fatality Rate - The Case of COVID-19: Reducing the Impact of Wrong Risk Perception

10 Pages Posted: 5 May 2020

See all articles by Purnendu Nath

Purnendu Nath

London Business School

Sukhpreet Patel

Nowrosjee Wadia Maternity Hospital; Vita Fertility Clinic

Date Written: April 28, 2020


In the midst of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the mortality risk being presented by both the media and some public health information providers is often misleading and so increasing the risk of suboptimal policy decisions and lower than desired voluntary compliance rates. We make the following contributions. First and foremost, we explain why the obsessive focus on the post-epidemic retrospective Case Fatality Rate is misplaced and explain why the focus must necessarily be on a time-varying mid-epidemic measure. Second, we introduce a Mid-Epidemic Case Fatality Rate (ME-CFR) framework and explain, using this framework, why the mortality risk as often presented during the COVID 19 pandemic is inappropriate and downward biased. Third, we explain how the ME-CFR is related to the numbers being released for Cases, Deaths, and Recovered. Fourth, we propose one such easy to use ME-CFR methodology for estimating the risk of death at a point in time when infected in the midst of an epidemic. Finally, we present an illustrative example of such ME-CFR curves along with some commentary for 3 very different countries (India, South Korea, USA) for the current COVID 19 pandemic. We believe that if the professional publications and media switch to this measure of mid-epidemic outcomes, policymakers and the general public will make better decisions, leading to better outcomes for COVID 19 and for future epidemics and pandemics.

Note: Funding: None.

Conflict of Interest: No conflicts of Interest.

Keywords: Mid-Epidemic Case Fatality Rate, COVID-19

JEL Classification: I10, I11, I12, I18

Suggested Citation

Nath, Purnendu and Patel, Sukhpreet, Mid-Epidemic Case Fatality Rate - The Case of COVID-19: Reducing the Impact of Wrong Risk Perception (April 28, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3587402 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3587402

Purnendu Nath (Contact Author)

London Business School ( email )

Sussex Place
Regent's Park
London NW1 4SA
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://phd.london.edu/pnath

Sukhpreet Patel

Nowrosjee Wadia Maternity Hospital

Acharya Donde Marg
MUMBAI, Maharashtra 400012

Vita Fertility Clinic ( email )

91 Vallabh Apartments
87 Bhulabhai Desai Road
Mumbai, MA 400026

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