Global between-countries variance in SARS-CoV-2 mortality is driven by reported prevalence, age distribution, and case detection rate

Babačić H, Lehtiö J, Pernemalm M

medRxiv - (-) - [2020-11-04; online 2020-06-02]

Objective: To explain the global between-countries variance in number of deaths per million citizens (nDpm) and case fatality rate (CFR) due to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. Design: Systematic analysis. Data sources: Worldometer, European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, United Nations Main outcome measures: The explanators of nDpm and CFR were mathematically hypothesised and tested on publicly-available data from 88 countries with linear regression models on May 1st 2020. The derived explanators - age-adjusted infection fatality rate (IFRadj) and case detection rate (CDR) - were estimated for each country based on a SARS-CoV-2 model of China. The accuracy and agreement of the models with observed data was assessed with R2 and Bland-Altman plots, respectively. Sensitivity analyses involved removal of outliers and testing the models at five retrospective and two prospective time points. Results: Globally, IFRadj estimates varied between countries, ranging from below 0.2% in the youngest nations, to above 1.3% in Portugal, Greece, Italy, and Japan. The median estimated global CDR of SARS-CoV-2 infections on April 16th 2020 was 12.9%, suggesting that most of the countries have a much higher number of cases than reported. At least 93% and up to 99% of the variance in nDpm was explained by reported prevalence expressed as cases per million citizens (nCpm), IFRadj, and CDR. IFRadj and CDR accounted for up to 97% of the variance in CFR, but this model was less reliable than the nDpm model, being sensitive to outliers (R2 as low as 67.5%). Conclusions: The current differences in SARS-CoV-2 mortality between countries are driven mainly by reported prevalence of infections, age distribution, and CDR. The nDpm might be a more stable estimate than CFR in comparing mortality burden between countries.

Category: Health

Type: Preprint

DOI 10.1101/2020.05.28.20114934

Crossref 10.1101/2020.05.28.20114934

Publications 7.1.2