How serious can the pandemic be?

According to statistics from the World Health Organization, there were 30,879 deaths out of 663,740 infections around the world as at 29 March 2020. This implied a mortality rate of 4.6%.

Some people calculated that is the entire global population of 7.8 billion people become infected, the total deaths would be 351 million. If half of the population became infected, 175 million people would die.

Two prominent disease experts said that the death rate is inflated. The 663,740 people reported in the WHO statistics are the infected people who became sick. A larger number of people were infected but the infection was mild and they were not even aware about it.

The expects do not have the data of how many people were infected that do not become sick. They think that it could be 5 to 10 times of the people that were sick.

If it is 10 times of the sick people, the death rate would drop to 0.4% rather than 4.5%. This is still a high mortality rate, but not as alarming as 10 times of that number.

There is a way to find out. The scientist can take a representative sample of the population and test the percentage that were already infected. Perhaps the sample could be 10,000 people. It would be manageable to test this number than to test millions of people.

Based on this sample, the scientists can estimate the number of people were were infected and calculate the death rate from this larger number of infected people.

They estimate that the death rate could fall to between 0.2% to 0.7%.

They quoted the random testing carried out in Iceland of people who are well and who are sick. The report is shown here.

According to this research, about 6.3% were estimated to be infected. This works out to 23,000 people out of a population of 364,000. The WHO statistics reported 963 cases (i.e. people who are sick) and 2 deaths.

You can compare the 963 cases with the 23,000 people. This means that, in Iceland, only 1 out of 24 infected people became sick and need to be treated. The other 23 infected people did not require treatment.

If we take this factor of 24, the number of 175 million deaths (assuming the 50% of the global population is infected) will drop to 7 million. This is still a high number, but not as alarming as 175 million. It is 2.5 times the number of 3 million that die every year from pneumonia.

Tan Kin Lian




15 Responses to “How serious can the pandemic be?”

  • Better safe than sorry:

    Better be safe than sorry.
    Whatever the death rate,even it is low,you do not want to be one of the statistic.Every life is precious.
    Please take care of yourself,be responsible.
    Take all necessary precaution including wear masks if you can.
    Be safe than dead.

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  • causative variables:

    //The expects do not have the data of how many people were infected that do not become sick. They think that it could be 5 to 10 times of the people that were sick.

    If it is 10 times of the sick people, the death rate would drop to 0.4% rather than 4.5%. This is still a high mortality rate, but not as alarming as 10 times of that number.//

    aiyoh. what experts (i think you mean experts instead of expects) lar ? everyone is expert with the benefits of hindsight ? like in actuarial finance, you feed in new data (information) as and when it comes in; and then adjust the rate & pricing accordingly lar to ensure the business model is profitable ??

    garments also same lar ? if they have gotten their maths wrong, tax or rent seek more lor in the name of this and that (can spin quite easily especially to the daft, just look for some potential correlative or vague causative variables and start the story telling), how can you not have a surplus if you are ownself-check-ownself one curry party funtion ???

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  • TruBlu:

    Truth is that,on a percentage basis,LEESER PEOPLE who are sick generally have not been TESTED FOR COVID VS SARS.

    BUT,THE most IMPORTANT FACTOR,to me,is OVER-GLOBA-LABOUR-isation after SARS.

    So called GREAT WORLD LEADERS N BUSINESSMEN WERE RUNNING AFTER KING $ rather than take time to extrapolate from the SARS EPISODE in relation to future potential spread of similar diseases if the world contunues in its RECKLESS RAPID PACE OF globa-LABOUR-risation?

    I am sure CHINA under reports the faralitlities,if not tge number of total infected?

    Look at west like italy n germany n USA,the numbers are just as large for smaller population base.

    The stats is not correct,whatever people claim.

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  • Darth Vader:

    tkl, SHUT THE F**K UP!!!! You are not a scientist, medical doctor or infectious disease expert!!!! WHO THE F**K DO YOU THINK YOU ARE TO TEACH THE EXPERTS HOW TO DO THEIR JOB????!!!! The simple reason WHY nobody knows just WHAT the actual fatality rate for the winnie the pooh virus is is because there aren’t sufficient test kits as yet around the world to test everyone who has a cough or other usual symptoms of respiratory problems, that’s why!!!! The REAL cause of the problem is NOT because the experts don’t know how to calculate the statistics as you so obviously think (if you are actually capable of thinking, that is!!!!), but rather because winnie the pooh is a selfish irresponsible son-of-a-motherf**king-b***h who withheld information & evidence from the world giving them insufficient time to prepare enough tests for everyone.


    Yes, we KNOW you hope to be elected to public office!!!! Well, GET A CLUE!!!! Here’s one for you since you’re so DAMNED F*****G CLUELESS!!!! You can forget about yourself or your good buddy gms ever getting elected. EVERYONE views BOTH of you as UNELECTABLE MEMBERS OF THE LUNATIC FRINGE BECAUSE OF ALL THE CRAP YOU TWO KEEP SPEWING OUT!!!!

    Are you listening tkl????!!!!

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  • oxygen:

    @ TKL

    ALL SNAKES, even blind and angry cut s*ake, bite you (when it is provoked or feels threatened), DO YOU ASK THE SNAKE THIS QUESTION – ARE YO DEADLY POISONOUS when it is within striking distance and is rattled?

    This pandemia, if globalised in rotation, destroy global economy, creating BOTH DEMAND AND SUPPLY SHOCKS, in a world buried in debts.

    How long do you think the world will survive with no income and necessary spending, in this turbulence?

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  • tan kin lian the pea brained:

    tan ah tan, what is the point?

    what is the purpose of the article?

    to tell the world tan kin lian is pea brained?

    no need so many deaths to know virus is dangerous.

    just need to infect everyone in tan kin lian house shall know how dangerous.

    wonder why such a human can exist on earth.

    a nobody pretending to be know all.

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  • oxygen:



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  • Careful of stats:

    Just want to highlight that death from pneumonia may not be really from pneumonia. When old people die, the fellow issuing a death certificate has to put a cause of death. “Old age” is not a recognized cause of death. So that fellow will simply put “pneumonia” (for breathing stopped) or cardic arrest (for heart stopped).

    It’s just a convenient and accepted label for old age death. It’s highly likely that those millions listed as deaths from “pneumonia” are simply death from old age. When you are 100 years old and your body just give up.

    You can see some of this idea at this url:

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  • Seriously now our CPF:

    The present global health crisis is proof that the government’s rationalisation for the CPF pay-back beginning at 65 onwards to 85 years of age is actually contingent upon other life-term criteria. So stop justifying yourselves and open up the CPF accounts books – they are the people’s savings funds essentially.
    The old are creaking all the way through their menial peanuts-for-monkeys jobs.

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  • General TKL:

    @TKL, you need to fine-tune your “statistics” by age, gender, race, custom & mores, geographical location (latitude & longitude), religious diligence, work pattern & lifestyle, food & nutrition, historical & genealogical background, living environment & condition, air & water quality, society & individual hsbits, physical sex & exercises ……

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  • Election ?:

    Mr Tan, thanks for the statistics. PAP knows this too well.

    Are you suggesting we proceed with the election now ?

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  • opposition dude:

    End of the day the statistics that matter are how many were infected and how many died. If one was infected but did not even know it then the person would not be a statistic since he or she did not fall sick.

    No use saying that if the whole population was infected lah, it won’t happen. Just go with the numbers that have been reported and tally everything up at the end of the day to see just how devasting Covid will be when this pandemic is over.

    All we need is time for a vaccine and for the number of cases to dwindle. If China isn’t doing a coverup and it isn’t spreading like crazy in Wuhan anymore then it’s a good sign.

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  • TL Tan:

    The figures above can be disputed, but the conclusion is correct. The whole crisis is overblown. Italy is badly affected due to its ageing population and inadequate healthcare system. Most countries do not face these same issues simultaneously so most will be fine. Take Sweden as another example. It is a small, open, trade-dependent economy like Singapore and it too does not have a lockdown. Sweden has a younger population and the healthcare system is good. Sweden even warns that overreaction is worse than the virus itself. Singapore is more like Sweden than Italy, so our government is doing the right thing by not overreacting.

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  • patriot of TUMASIK:

    One death is ONE too many and one infection is a liability to hundreds or even thousands potential infected if NOT properly handled and IMMEDIATE action TAKEN…and living on accolades and False or Fake CONtrolled situation is a DISASTER!!!

    But Not for them in their Ivory Tower and well-SCRUBBED homes and BODY and that includes Tan Ahhhh!!!

    The Yearly Flu or whatever KNOWN virus used as a comparison is sheer STOOOPIDITY…

    there are Vaccines and medications to handle such cases and the yearly deaths are the NORM, unlike an UNKNOWN virus that kills Daily with no Vaccine or Medication in sight YET…

    “THINK” ah tan and for ONCE using your BRAINS… the Spanish Flu went on a World Wide super B747 Flight and KILLED 70,000,000 before it could be CONTAINED not with your Brains but Doctors & Scientists searching for a cure…

    Between PAP and the ah tan think alike, we are Heading for DISASTER with a capital “D”

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  • TruBlu:

    frankly,this is more serious than the FINANCIAL MELT-DOWN it is causing.
    no one is immuned at the moment,eben the RICH N POWERFUL or the YOUNG AND RESTLESS.

    This pandemic humbles even the haughtiest and smartest and shrewdest,FROM THE TOP TO THE BOTTOM.

    the lesson we learn is LIFE IS TRANSIENT and there is NO NEED FOR ARROGANCE even if you are KING OR CLOWN PRINCE?

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