BY JENNIFER CABRERA
President Trump has reportedly tested positive for COVID; assuming this is not a false positive, what are his risks of dying?
For this analysis, we used Florida’s case line data (September 21 update), which does not exaggerate the number of cases because it includes one line per person. The case line data also shows whether or not that person was hospitalized or passed away (but not the date of either). Using this data allows a comparison of cases to deaths without worrying about a specific lag time for the disease process (we only look at cases through August 31 to allow for reporting lags).
The graphs below show the percentage of daily cases that later died, regardless of death date (i.e., the graph shows the percentage of people who tested positive on each date who later died). The overall rate has dropped dramatically since the start of May.
Note that these are case fatality rates; various studies have shown that a large number of cases are never detected, leading to an infection fatality rate that is on the order of 1/10 the case fatality rate.
The following graphs show how the case fatality rate has changed since the beginning of April for people over 65.
Below is a graph of the case fatality rate by age in Florida, followed by the same graph broken out by month to demonstrate the decreasing fatality rate.
The case fatality rate for the 65-74-year-old group in Florida is 5.42%, which points to an infection fatality rate of about 0.5%.
However, if we remove residents of long-term care facilities, the case fatality rate for Florida residents 65 and over is much lower. Unfortunately, the Florida Department of Health has not updated their age-stratified long-term care facility death data since July 24.
As explained above, the infection fatality rate is estimated by dividing the case fatality rate by 10, leading to an infection fatality rate in the 65-74 age group of 0.28%. We are comfortable using the infection fatality rate (as opposed to the case fatality rate) for the president because he was tested as a precaution and reportedly has mild or no symptoms.
Since President Trump is not in a long-term care facility, he is at the upper end of the 65-74 age range, and fatality rates have dropped since the July data in the chart above, we estimate that he has a 99.5-99.8% chance of surviving COVID.
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