Interviewer: Professor Baric,
many thanks for
taking the time to do this interview
with us today to update us on
the world-wide ongoing
SARS-2 COVID-19 outbreak.
Let me start by returning to what we
were discussing a couple of weeks ago,
when we were saying that the mortality
rate is clearly above 1%.
Do we have any better estimates of what
the mortality rate is today globally for
Prof. Baric: It's still a difficult
question to determine the exact
If you do the straight math in terms
of the number of cases reported versus
the number of deaths reported,
it's about 3%.
Unfortunately, we don't really
know what the denominator is,
there have been several reports now based
on serology results that suggest that
about half the people who are actually
infected with virus show no symptoms.
Another percentage of individuals infected
with the virus have very mild symptoms and
probably don't get tested.
So without a clear picture of
exactly what the denominator is,
the exact mortality rate is not clear.
Perhaps one of the best measures of
the mortality rate is from the cruise ship
that was in Japan.
The mortality rate on that
cruise ship was about 0.8-0.9%.
Interviewer: You talk of
the unknown denominator there.
There was a study from Oxford a few
weeks back now that suggested many more
people may have been infected
than is still currently thought.
Do you think this might be the case,
and what does it imply about the virus?
Prof. Baric: A lot of the modeling data
predicts that there are probably close to
10 times more infections that
have actually been reported,
rather than the 50% asymptomatic
rate that I just quoted.