On April 18, US President Donald Trump at a White House media briefing questioned the fatality rate from COVID-19 released by China.
We did some math and found out what the President accused of isn’t necessarily the truth.
To get a few things straight, there are two kinds of “death rates” when it comes to describing how deadly a certain epidemic can be: case fatality rate and mortality rate.
The first reflects the proportion of people who die who have tested positive for the disease while the second is a measure of the number of deaths due to a specific cause in a particular population, scaled to the size of that population, per unit of time.
The slide by the White House, however, showed only the mortality rates of select countries.
During the briefing, Dr. Deborah Birx, White House Coronavirus Coordinator, also called China’s data “unrealistic” for the reason that it has a healthcare delivery system not as highly developed as other hard-hit countries.
In China’s case, the containment of the coronavirus pandemic is not determined only by what Dr. Birx believes in. Putting Wuhan, the former epicenter, under lockdown, testing in high volumes daily, sending more than 42,000 medical staff and supplies to the front line, practicing quarantine and isolation on a national level… all of which help bring the outbreak under control.
Studying mortality rates can provide researchers and the public a better picture of the virus. But for politicians who use it against other countries, it’s just an excuse for their poor governing abilities.
(Video produced by Li Bowen and Zhu Yurou, Chen Lidan, Dong Chunyang and Li Yingtao)