COVID-19 in China: How likely is the death rate to be 4.2% to 4.3%?

We look to see how likely the death/mortality rate (CFR=Case Fatality Rate) in China for COVID-19 will be 4.2% to 4.3%.

Over the last two days, The projected total number of deaths from COVID-19 is now in a narrow range from 3,400 to 3,475 deaths (3,398 to 3,485).

While we will need to follow up to see if this trend continues, this would indicate a CFR of 4.2% to 4.3% as in the table below:


The current number of deaths in China is 80,778 with 22 deaths yesterday. There have been less than 30 deaths each day for the last five days.

Update 11 March:
On 11 March in China, there were 11 deaths and 18 new cases.
Projections, including CFR, are similar to those already in the post.
There are now 4297 serious/critical cases.

Yesterday (10 March in China), there were however still almost 4,500 serious/critical cases.

Some of these cases must have been infected several weeks ago since there have only been about 4,500 new cases since 20 February, (three weeks ago) and most of these are unlikely to be serious/critical cases now.

Consequently most of the current 4,492 serious/critical cases must have become new cases (diagnosed) more than three weeks ago.

We need to consider how many deaths may result from these cases.

From the number of new cases each day, there is likely to be only one death resulting eventually from each daily figure. We assume that these are likely to become serious/critical cases before they die. Regardless the deaths from the new cases will not change the results.

Based on the last two days figures, death occurred in 5.4% to 7.3% of the serious/critical cases that had an outcome.

Applying these percentages to the remaining serious/critical cases gives us our range of 3,398 to 3,485 projected total deaths (about 241-327 more deaths) after considering these cases. Recall the current number of deaths is 3,158.

The above table gives us the CFR range.

We can safely assume that the total number of cases is very likely to be less than 81,000 cases based on the number of new cases (less than 30 each day) for the last five days. i.e. in the first three rows of the table.

Clearly we need to look at future figures to confirm this CFR rate. Note:
3.4% Mortality Rate estimate by the WHO as of March 3

It is unwise without confirmation to assume a CFR rate based on just the last two days’ figures.

My COVID-19 (Coronavirus) posts can be found here:

Data for my posts can be found at:

Alan Grace
12 March 2020

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