Member-supported news for Southern California
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Support for KPCC comes from:

Are COVID-19 Mortality Rates Really What They Seem?

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 07: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY)   Medics wearing personal protective equipment (PPE), unload COVID-19 patients arriving to the Montefiore Medical Center Moses Campus on April 07, 2020 in the Bronx borough of New York City. The patients were being transferred from the Westchester Square campus, also a Bronx Montefiore hospital. The transfers of these coronavirus patients are staffed by Empress EMS, Yonkers police and hospital staff on both ends wearing PPE. A specialized bus known as a Medical Evacuation Transport Unit (METU) ,caries patients on stretchers and benches. The patient transfers are designed to help overwhelmed hospitals even out caseloads in Westchester County and New York City at the epicenter of the U.S. coronavirus pandemic.  (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
John Moore/Getty Images
Medics wearing personal protective equipment (PPE), unload COVID-19 patients arriving to the Montefiore Medical Center Moses Campus on April 07, 2020 in the Bronx borough of New York City.

Quantifying mortality rates is more difficult than it seems. A recent Wall Street Journal article explains that the numbers often only tell part of the story because only a certain number of people who die from COVID-19 actually make it into the hospital or get tested. The piece explains that the fatality rate is likely much higher than reported and policy makers should be careful when making decisions based on these numbers.

Quantifying mortality rates is more difficult than it seems. A recent Wall Street Journal article explains that the numbers often only tell part of the story because only a certain number of people who die from COVID-19 actually make it into the hospital or get tested. The piece explains that the fatality rate is likely much higher than reported and policy makers should be careful when making decisions based on these numbers.

Testing in the U.S. and California has been limited as well. Gov. Gavin Newsom even announced a task force that will focus on increasing testing capacity daily, according to the L.A. Times. That impacts what we see in mortality rates, and it’s often misleading. A group of researchers at UCLA is looking into different ways that mortality rates can be more clearly tracked and portrayed.  Today on AirTalk, one of the research scientists from UCLA sits down with Larry to discuss their findings.  

Guest:

Lucas Böttcher, research scientist at UCLA who’s been working with a group of researchers to model fatality rates for COVID-19

Stay Connected