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How deadly could COVID-19 be?

As the disease spreads around the world, we consider the potential cost to life based on different estimates about how infectious it is and how fatal it could be for those who contract it.

It’s too early to know how deadly the disease will be, but estimates suggest that between 0.5% to 3.4% of the people who contract the virus will die. The difference between the lower number in the range and the higher number could be the difference between tens of thousands of people dying versus millions of people perishing from the pandemic.

The variation in estimates is due to many factors, including differences in the way deaths are counted and reported around the world as well as the difficulty in determining the total number of people infected with the virus. How many people will ultimately die from the disease also depends on how much of the global population will be exposed to the virus, which in turn depends upon a range of variables, reports VOA News.

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