Bulletin of the World Health Organization; Type: Research
Article ID: BLT.20.265892
John P A Ioannidis
I included 61 studies (74 estimates) and eight preliminary national estimates. Seroprevalence estimates ranged from 0.02% to 53.40%. Infection fatality rates ranged from 0.00% to 1.63%, corrected values from 0.00% to 1.54%. Across 51 locations, the median COVID-19 infection fatality rate was 0.27% (corrected 0.23%): the rate was 0.09% in locations with COVID-19 population mortality rates less than the global average (< 118 deaths/million), 0.20% in locations with 118–500 COVID-19 deaths/million people and 0.57% in locations with > 500 COVID-19 deaths/million people. In people < 70 years, infection fatality rates ranged from 0.00% to 0.31% with crude and corrected medians of 0.05%.
The infection fatality rate of COVID-19 can vary substantially across different locations and this may reflect differences in population age structure and case- mix of infected and deceased patients and other factors. The inferred infection fatality rates tended to be much lower than estimates made earlier in the pandemic.