Coronavirus' death rate found to be lower than World Health Organisation estimates

Joggers by a quiet Tower of London, as the UK's coronavirus death toll reached 144 as of 1pm on Thursday, with around four in 10 of all deaths so far in London. (Photo by Jonathan Brady/PA Images via Getty Images)

The coronavirus' death rate may be lower than the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimated, research suggests.

With the virus virtually unheard of at the start of the year, experts have been racing to uncover how dangerous it really is and the patients most likely to succumb to complications.

At the beginning of March, the WHO announced the virus had killed 3.4% of patients worldwide, which other experts called a likely "overestimate".

To learn more, scientists from The University of Hong Kong looked at the 48,557 confirmed cases that had arisen as of 29 February in the Chinese city Wuhan, where the outbreak emerged.

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Machinists concentrate as they work to sew scrubs for the NHS at the factory of Fashion Enter in London, as the country is in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus, Friday, April 3, 2020. The company normally makes fashion garments for Asos, but the shortages within the NHS mean that they have put their fashion orders on hold whilst they make PPE (personal protective equipment) to protect workers against the coronavirus outbreak. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
A woman runs past graffiti in the empty streets of Manchester on April 4, 2020, as life in Britain continues during the nationwide lockdown to combat the novel coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)
Rails of fashion garments on hold as machinists sew scrubs for the NHS at the factory of Fashion Enter in London, as the country is in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus, Friday, April 3, 2020. The company normally makes fashion garments for Asos, but the shortages within the NHS mean that they have put their fashion orders on hold whilst they make PPE (personal protective equipment) to protect workers against the coronavirus outbreak. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
An information board displays a message encouraging people to stay at home in a near-empty street in Manchester on April 4, 2020, as life in Britain continues during the nationwide lockdown to combat the novel coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)
People walk along a deserted Boscombe beach, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. (Photo by Andrew Matthews/PA Images via Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE UNDER LYME, ENGLAND - APRIL 04: Lois Copley-Jones, aged 5, who is the photographer's daughter, draws the horses for the family virtual Grand National sweepstake on April 04, 2020 in Newcastle Under Lyme, England. The Grand National horse race, one of the biggest events in the sporting calendar was due to run today, but was cancelled due to the coronavirus emergency, being replaced instead by a virtual televised race. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)
A woman wearing a protective face mask walks past a department store window display in Manchester on April 4, 2020, as life in Britain continues during the nationwide lockdown to combat the novel coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)
A 'closed until further notice' sign is seen on a locked gate on Boscombe pier, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. (Photo by Andrew Matthews/PA Images via Getty Images)
Undertakers wearing personal protective equipment carry the coffin during the funeral in the Eternal Gardens Muslim Burial Ground, Chislehurst of Ismail Mohamed Abdulwahab, 13, from Brixton, south London, who died alone in King�s College Hospital in the early hours of Monday after testing positive for the coronavirus.
The funeral in the Eternal Gardens Muslim Burial Ground, Chislehurst of Ismail Mohamed Abdulwahab, 13, from Brixton, south London, who died alone in King�s College Hospital in the early hours of Monday after testing positive for the coronavirus.
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Britain's Health Secretary Matt Hancock (R) touches his face and eye during the opening of the "NHS Nightingale" field hospital, created at the ExCeL London exhibition centre, in London on April 3, 2020, to help with the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. - The new state-run National Health Service (NHS) hospital, named after trailblazing 19th-century nurse Florence Nightingale, has been built in just nine days. (Photo by Tolga AKMEN / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)
PERTH, SCOTLAND - APRIL 03: Police patrol the High Street during the Coronavirus lockdown on April 3, 2020 in Perth,Scotland. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has spread to many countries across the world, claiming over 50,000 lives and infecting over 1 million people. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Local resident Alex Girdwood working on her plot at Mudchute Allotments on the Isle of Dogs, east London, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. (Photo by Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images)
Head of nursing at NHS Nightingale hospital, Natalie Grey (R) unveils a plaque on behalf of Britain's Prince Charles, Prince of Walesa during the opening of the "NHS Nightingale" field hospital, created at the ExCeL London exhibition centre, in London on April 3, 2020, to help with the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. - The new state-run National Health Service (NHS) hospital, named after trailblazing 19th-century nurse Florence Nightingale, has been built in just nine days. (Photo by Stefan Rousseau / POOL / AFP) (Photo by STEFAN ROUSSEAU/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
CAR NUMBER PLATES PIXELATED BY PA PICTURE DESK Photo taken at 10:43am of cars queuing at an NHS drive through coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing facility in an IKEA car park, Wembley as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. (Photo by Aaron Chown/PA Images via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 03: Matt Hancock the UK Secretary of State for Health and Social Care stands on a mark on the ground, put in place to ensure social distancing guidelines are adhered to, at the opening of the NHS Nightingale Hospital at the ExCel centre on April 3, 2020 in London, England. The field hospital will initially contain 500 beds with ventilators and oxygen and will have the capacity to eventually hold up to 4,000 COVID-19 patients. (Photo by Stefan Rousseau - WPA Pool /Getty Images)
Artist Rachel List with her mural supporting the NHS on the gates of the Hope & Anchor pub in Pontefract, Yorkshire, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. (Photo by Danny Lawson/PA Images via Getty Images)
A shop worker stacks shelves whilst wearing PPE at a Co-op shop in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire. (Photo by Jacob King/PA Images via Getty Images)
Janet Woodcock holds a social distance dancing event with the residents of Springbourne in Frodsham, Cheshire as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. (Photo by Peter Byrne/PA Images via Getty Images)
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DORCHESTER, ENGLAND - APRIL 02: NHS staff from Dorset County Hospital applaud at the entrance of the Emergency Department on April 02, 2020 in Dorchester, United Kingdom. The "Clap For Our Carers" campaign has been encouraging people across the UK to take part in a nationwide round of applause from their windows, doors, balconies and gardens at 8pm to show their appreciation for the efforts of the NHS as they tackle the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has spread to many countries across the world, claiming over 50,000 lives and infecting hundreds of thousands more. (Photo by Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images)
DORCHESTER, ENGLAND - APRIL 02: NHS staff from Dorset County Hospital applaud at the entrance of the Emergency Department on April 02, 2020 in Dorchester, United Kingdom. The "Clap For Our Carers" campaign has been encouraging people across the UK to take part in a nationwide round of applause from their windows, doors, balconies and gardens at 8pm to show their appreciation for the efforts of the NHS as they tackle the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has spread to many countries across the world, claiming over 50,000 lives and infecting hundreds of thousands more. (Photo by Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 02: A general view of The London Stadium, home to West Ham United as it lights up to thanks the NHS on April 02, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. Members of the public are being encouraged to applaud NHS staff and other key workers from their homes for a second week, after the success of last week's "Clap for Our Carers" campaign. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has spread to many countries across the world, claiming over 40,000 lives and infecting hundreds of thousands more. (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)
SALTBURN BY THE SEA, UNITED KINGDOM - APRIL 02: Residents come out into their front gardens to join in with applause to show support for NHS frontline workers as the UK adjusts to life under the Coronavirus pandemic on April 2, 2020 in Saltburn By The Sea, United Kingdom. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has spread to many countries across the world, claiming over 50,000 lives and infecting nearly a million more. (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)
Police officers join staff from the Royal Liverpool University Hospital in a national applause during Thursday's nationwide Clap for Carers NHS initiative to applaud NHS workers fighting the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Peter Byrne/PA Images via Getty Images)
Staff from the Royal Liverpool University Hospital join in a national applause during Thursday's nationwide Clap for Carers NHS initiative to applaud NHS workers fighting the coronavirus pandemic. PA Photo. Picture date: Thursday April 2, 2020. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus. Photo credit should read: Peter Byrne/PA Wire (Photo by Peter Byrne/PA Images via Getty Images)
PORTSMOUTH, - APRIL 02: A general view over Portsmouth Harbor as the Spinnaker Tower is illuminated blue in support of the NHS and Key Workers on April 02, 2020 in Portsmouth, United Kingdom. Members of the public are being encouraged to applaud NHS staff and other key workers from their homes for a second week, after the success of last week's "Clap for Our Carers" campaign. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has spread to many countries across the world, claiming over 50,000 lives and infecting hundreds of thousands more. (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)
WINDSOR, ENGLAND - APRIL 2: Residents are seen next to Windsor Castle as is turned blue to salute local heroes during Thursday's nationwide Clap for Carers NHS initiative to applaud NHS workers fighting the coronavirus pandemic when landmarks across the UK will be lit blue on April 2, 2020 in Windsor, England. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has spread to many countries across the world, claiming over 50,000 lives and infecting hundreds of thousands more. (Photo by Kirsty O'Connor - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
WALLINGTON, ENGLAND - APRIL 02: Homemade rainbow signs are displayed on the gates of Carew Academy school on April 02, 2020 in Wallington, United Kingdom. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has spread to many countries across the world, claiming over 40,000 lives and infecting hundreds of thousands more. (Photo by Mark Trowbridge/Getty Images)
EXETER, ENGLAND - APRIL 02: Customers continue to shop at the Plants Galore garden centre in Exeter as it remains open for business despite being served with a prohibition order from City Council on April 02, 2020 in Exeter, England. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has spread to many countries across the world, claiming over 40,000 lives and infecting hundreds of thousands more. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
ROMFORD, ENGLAND - APRIL 02: A toddler feeds carrots to the Fallow deer from Dagnam Park as they rest and graze on the grass outside homes on a housing estate in Harold Hill, near Romford on April 02, 2020 in Romford, England. The semi-urban deer are a regular sight in the area around the park but as the roads have become quieter due to the nationwide lockdown, the deer have staked a claim on new territories in the vicinity. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has spread to many countries across the world, claiming over 40,000 lives and infecting hundreds of thousands more. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
Two people, one wearing a face mask as a precautionary measure against COVID-19, sit on an empty TfL underground tube carriage as they travel on the Victoria Line in London on April 2, 2020, as life in Britain continues during the nationwide lockdown to combat the novel coronavirus pandemic. - Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Britain would "massively increase testing" amid a growing wave of criticism on Thursday about his government's failure to provide widespread coronavirus screening. (Photo by Tolga Akmen / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)
EXETER, ENGLAND - APRIL 02: Police officers patrol the high street on April 02, 2020 in Exeter, England. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has spread to many countries across the world, claiming over 40,000 lives and infecting hundreds of thousands more. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
Dogwalkers on an empty beach at Tynemouth Longsands on the North East coast as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. (Photo by Owen Humphreys/PA Images via Getty Images)
A pedestrian, crosses an empty road on a deserted Oxford Street in London on April 2, 2020, as life in Britain continues during the nationwide lockdown to combat the novel coronavirus pandemic. - Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Britain would "massively increase testing" amid a growing wave of criticism on Thursday about his government's failure to provide widespread coronavirus screening. (Photo by Tolga AKMEN / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - APRIL 01: A person in a face mask walks past an 'I heart MCR' sign as they shop in a near deserted city centre mid-afternoon, during the pandemic lockdown and closure of shops, restaurants and businesses on April 01, 2020 in Manchester, United Kingdom. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has spread to many countries across the world, claiming over 40,000 lives and infecting hundreds of thousands more. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
A shopkeeper in a face mask checks people are practicing safe distancing as they queue at a deli in Southville, Bristol as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. (Photo by Ben Birchall/PA Images via Getty Images)
STOCKPORT, ENGLAND - APRIL 01: A near deserted Stockport town centre during the pandemic lockdown and the closure of shops, restaurants and businesses on April 01, 2020 in Stockport, United Kingdom. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has spread to many countries across the world, claiming over 40,000 lives and infecting hundreds of thousands more. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
A thank you message to the NHS is painted on a closed pub in Bristol as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. (Photo by Ben Birchall/PA Images via Getty Images)
RETRANSMISSION - with corrected first sentence. A London Ambulance worker wearing PPE cleans an ambulance after a patient is brought into St Thomas' Hospital in London as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. (Photo by Victoria Jones/PA Images via Getty Images)
LONDON, April 1, 2020 .The BT Tower displays a message "Stay at home" in London, Britain, on April 1, 2020. According to the Department of Health and Social Care, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Britain reached 29,474 as of Wednesday morning, an increase of 4,324 in 24 hours. (Photo by Tim Ireland/Xinhua via Getty) (Xinhua/ via Getty Images)
BRIGHTON, ENGLAND - APRIL 01: Police community support officers patrolling Brighton seafront talk to a member of the public playing petanque on April 01, 2020 in Brighton, England. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has spread to many countries across the world, claiming over 40,000 lives and infecting hundreds of thousands more. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
People jog across London Bridge in central London as the UK's nationwide lockdown continues for a second week in the fight against the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic on 01 April, 2020 in London, England. According to data published yesterday by the Department of Health and Social Care, the total number of people who tested positive for Covid-19 in the UK increased to 25,150 and the number of patients who died in hospitals rose to 1,789. (Photo by WIktor Szymanowicz/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
People take their daily excercise in Hyde Park in central London on March 31, 2020, as life in Britain continues during the nationwide lockdown to combat the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. - The novel coronavirus pandemic has so far claimed nearly 38,000 lives worldwide in a health crisis that is rapidly reorganising political power, hammering the global economy and the daily existence of some 3.6 billion people. (Photo by ISABEL INFANTES / AFP) (Photo by ISABEL INFANTES/AFP via Getty Images)
Train in Grand Central Station in Birmingham city centre, which is virtually deserted due to the Coronavirus outbreak on 31st March 2020 in Birmingham, England, United Kingdom. Following government advice most people are staying at home leaving the streets quiet, empty and eerie. Coronavirus or Covid-19 is a new respiratory illness that has not previously been seen in humans. While much or Europe has been placed into lockdown, the UK government has announced more stringent rules as part of their long term strategy, and in particular 'social distancing'. (photo by Mike Kemp/In PIctures via Getty Images)
LONDON, March 31, 2020 .A road sign on M3 motorway displays a message urging people to stay home to slow the spread of the COVID-19, near London, Britain, on March 31, 2020. The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Britain reached 25,150 as of Tuesday morning, an increase of 3,009 in 24 hours, according to the Department of Health and Social Care. (Photo by Tim Ireland/Xinhua via Getty) (Xinhua/ via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 31: A general view of Regent Street on March 31, 2020 in London, England. British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, announced strict lockdown measures urging people to stay at home and only leave the house for basic food shopping, exercise once a day and essential travel to and from work. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has spread to at least 182 countries, claiming over 10,000 lives and infecting hundreds of thousands more. (Photo by Kate Green/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Ventilators are stored and ready to be used by Coronavirus patients at the ExCel centre in London which is being made into a temporary hospital - the NHS Nightingale hospital, comprising of two wards, each of 2,000 people, to help tackle coronavirus. (Photo by Stefan Rousseau/PA Images via Getty Images)
While Birmingham city centre is virtually deserted due to the Coronavirus outbreak a street cleaner jet washes the pavements along Smallbrook Queensway on 31st March 2020 in Birmingham, England, United Kingdom. Following government advice most people are staying at home leaving the streets quiet, empty and eerie. Coronavirus or Covid-19 is a new respiratory illness that has not previously been seen in humans. While much or Europe has been placed into lockdown, the UK government has announced more stringent rules as part of their long term strategy, and in particular 'social distancing'. (photo by Mike Kemp/In PIctures via Getty Images)
People take their daily excercise in Hyde Park in central London on March 31, 2020, as life in Britain continues during the nationwide lockdown to combat the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. - The novel coronavirus pandemic has so far claimed nearly 38,000 lives worldwide in a health crisis that is rapidly reorganising political power, hammering the global economy and the daily existence of some 3.6 billion people. (Photo by ISABEL INFANTES / AFP) (Photo by ISABEL INFANTES/AFP via Getty Images)
LONDON, April 1, 2020.Staff of the charity Food For All prepare meals for distribution to homeless people at the Food For All charity kitchen in London, Britain, March 31, 2020. The British Government continues to try to combat the COVID-19 outbreak, while local authorities, community groups and charities are working to provide food for the most vulnerable in society. (Photo by Tim Ireland/Xinhua via Getty) (Xinhua/ via Getty Images)
Medical staff wearing personal protective equipment (PPE)outside St Thomas' Hospital in Westminster, London, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Sold out delivery spots as the ASDA website is pictured on a laptop as Supermarket websites are overwhelmed by online orders during the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Signage outside a closed West Bridgford Infants School in Nottingham as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
SALTBURN BY THE SEA, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 30: A man dances with his daughter as residents of Coral Street in Saltburn come out of their homes at 6pm each evening to take part in Sing at Six as the UK adjusts to life under the Coronavirus pandemic on March 30, 2020 in Saltburn By The Sea, United Kingdom. Residents have being coming to their doorsteps and gardens to sing and dance along with each other every evening since the lockdown began as they try and maintain the morale of the street. Coronavirus (COVID-19) has spread to at least 199 countries, claiming over 36,000 lives and infecting more than 752,000 people. There have now been 22,141 diagnosed cases in the UK and 1,408 deaths. (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)
SALTBURN BY THE SEA, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 30: Residents of Coral Street in Saltburn come out of their homes at 6pm each evening to take part in Sing at Six as the UK adjusts to life under the Coronavirus pandemic on March 30, 2020 in Saltburn By The Sea, United Kingdom. Residents have being coming to their doorsteps and gardens to sing and dance along with each other every evening since the lockdown began as they try and maintain the morale of the street. Coronavirus (COVID-19) has spread to at least 199 countries, claiming over 36,000 lives and infecting more than 752,000 people. There have now been 22,141 diagnosed cases in the UK and 1,408 deaths. (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)
A sign outside the closed-down Prince of Wales pub reads "Thanks to the NHS and all our Key Workers", in Fleet, south west of London, on March 30, 2020, as life in Britain continues during the nationwide lockdown to combat the novel coronavirus pandemic. - Life in locked-down Britain may not return to normal for six months or longer as it battles the coronavirus outbreak, a top health official warned on Sunday, as the death toll reached passed 1,200. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP) (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)
EALING, ENGLAND - MARCH 30: A volunteer from Ealing Soup Kitchen prepares food parcels for clients on March 30, 2020 in Ealing, England. Like many other countries around the world, the United Kingdom is now on lockdown with the public being told to remain indoors and only leave their homes for groceries, healthcare or essential work. Those with no fixed address are facing a crisis as donations dry up and healthcare becomes a priority. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has spread to many countries across the world, claiming over 30,000 lives and infecting hundreds of thousands more. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 30: A woman with an unknown condition is helped from an ambulance at the St Thomas' Hospital on March 30, 2020 in London, England. Hospitals across London are facing a surge in demand for critical care due to The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 30: Soldiers and private contractors help to prepare the ExCel centre which is being made into the temporary NHS Nightingale hospital, comprising of two wards, each of 2,000 people, to help tackle coronavirus on March 30, 2020 in London, England. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has spread to many countries across the world, claiming over 30,000 lives and infecting hundreds of thousands more. (Photo by Stefan Rousseau - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
A paramedic wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) exits an ambulance outside St Thomas' Hospital in Westminster, London as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
EMBARGOED TO 1530 MONDAY 30 MARCH Soldiers and private contractors help to prepare the ExCel centre, London, which is being made into the temporary NHS Nightingale hospital, comprising of two wards, each of 2,000 people, to help tackle coronavirus. PA Photo. Picture date: Monday March 30, 2020. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus. Photo credit should read: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
A refuse collector in Liverpool wears a facemask as he continues to do his job as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. PA Photo. Picture date: Monday March 30, 2020. A total of 1,228 patients are reported to have died after testing positive for coronavirus in the UK. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus. Photo credit should read: Peter Byrne/PA Wire
People maintain social distancing as they queue outside a post office in Wolverhampton city centre as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
British Airways and EasyJet planes are seen parked at Gatwick Airport in Crawley, West Sussex, after EasyJet announced it has grounded its entire fleet of 344 aircraft due to the coronavirus pandemic.
A motorist wearing a face mask drives through the streets of Glasgow as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. (Photo by Andrew Milligan/PA Images via Getty Images)
A cyclist makes his way up a quiet Saint Vincent Street in Glasgow as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. (Photo by Andrew Milligan/PA Images via Getty Images)
BIRMINGHAM, - MARCH 29: A man wearing a mask walks past Covid-19 themed graffiti in Birmingham city centre during the nationwide lockdownon March 29, 2020 in Birmingham, United Kingdom. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has spread to many countries across the world, claiming over 30,000 lives and infecting hundreds of thousands more. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
BIRMINGHAM, - MARCH 29: Police officers patrol a deserted Corporation Street in Birmingham city centre during the nationwide lockdown on March 29, 2020 in Birmingham, United Kingdom. Even on a normal Sunday the streets are usually busy with shoppers. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has spread to many countries across the world, claiming over 30,000 lives and infecting hundreds of thousands more. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
BIRMINGHAM, - MARCH 29: Aircraft sit idle as they are parked up at Birmingham Airport during the nationwide lockdown on March 29, 2020 in Birmingham, United Kingdom. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has spread to many countries across the world, claiming over 30,000 lives and infecting hundreds of thousands more. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 29: British nationals arrive at a closed London Gatwick North Terminal after they were repatriated on Easy Jet, flight EZY 9662 from Alicante on March 29, 2020 in London, England. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has spread to many countries across the world, claiming over 30,000 lives and infecting hundreds of thousands more. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
LULWORTH, ENGLAND - MARCH 28: A 'Go Home' is seen on the outskirts of Lulworth village on March 28, 2020 in Lulworth, United Kingdom. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has spread to many countries across the world, claiming over 25,000 lives and infecting hundreds of thousands more. (Photo by Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images)
BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - MARCH 28: General views of British Airways planes grounded at Bournemouth Airport on March 28, 2020 in Bournemouth, England. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has spread to many countries across the world, claiming over 25,000 lives and infecting hundreds of thousands more. (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)
A medical staff member wearing closes and a face mask, tests an NHS worker for the novel coronavirus COVID-19 at a drive-in facility set up in the carpark of Chessington World of Adventures in Chessington, Greater London on March 28, 2020. - Britain on March 24 said it will open a 4,000-bed field hospital at a London exhibition centre to treat coronavirus cases in the latest measure to tackle the outbreak after the government ordered a nationwide lockdown. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP) (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 27: (----EDITORIAL USE ONLY â MANDATORY CREDIT - "10 DOWNING STREET / ANDREW PARSONS / HANDOUT" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS----) Workers are seen at newly built Nightingale Hospital London for Covid-19 at the Excel in London, United Kingdom on March 27, 2020. The Military and contractors build the Nightingale Hospital in London for Covid-19 patients. (Photo by Andrew Parsons / 10 Downing Street / Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
A sign at the gates of Battersea Park in London, giving information on social distancing in the park, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. (Photo by Kirsty O'Connor/PA Images via Getty Images)
SURBITON, ENGLAND - MARCH 28: Chalk writing on a pavement on March 28, 2020 in Surbiton, England The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has spread to many countries across the world, claiming over 25,000 lives and infecting hundreds of thousands more. (Photo by Ker Robertson/Getty Images)
A sign in Holland Park, London, urging people to stay indoors, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. (Photo by John Walton/PA Images via Getty Images)
A member of the military at the ExCel centre in London which is being made into a temporary hospital - the NHS Nightingale hospital, comprising of two wards, each of 2,000 people, to help tackle coronavirus. (Photo by Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images)
BRIGHTON, ENGLAND - MARCH 28: Brighton beach is almost deserted on March 28, 2020 in Brighton, England. Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has spread to at least 182 countries, claiming over 10,000 lives and infecting hundreds of thousands more. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
The Wembley arch in London is lit up in the colours of the Italian flag as a gesture of solidarity from the England Football Team. (Photo by Adam Davy/PA Images via Getty Images)
A member of the media wearing a protective face mask walks in front of Number 11 Downing Street, where Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson is self-isolating in his flat above, in central London, March 27, 2020. - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Friday that he is self-isolating after testing positive for COVID-19. (Photo by Tolga AKMEN / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)
A very quiet London St Pancras International railway station as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. (Photo by Victoria Jones/PA Images via Getty Images)
Piccadilly Circus, London, as lockdown remains in place across the UK to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. (Photo by Aaron Chown/PA Images via Getty Images)
A couple walk through a near-deserted Arndale Centre in Manchester, north-west England, on March 27, 2020. - Manchester United will refund supporters if they have to play their remaining home games of the season behind closed doors or if they are scrapped due to the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)
Police stop motorists as they travel on Park Street, Bristol, where random checks on essential travel are taking place as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
An information board displays a message asking people to "stay home" in Manchester, north-west England, on March 27, 2020. - Manchester United will refund supporters if they have to play their remaining home games of the season behind closed doors or if they are scrapped due to the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)
A worker puts up a notice advising against non-essential travel, at a Docklands Light Railway (DLR) station at the ExCel centre in London which is being made into a temporary hospital - the NHS Nightingale hospital, comprising of two wards, each of 2,000 people, to help tackle coronavirus.
The Men's toilet facilities at the Strensham Services on the M5 Motorway in Worcestershire where alternate urinals are out of use to maintain social distancing as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Workers from the Bristol City Centre Business Improvement District (BID) cleaning high contact public areas around Park Street and College Green, Bristol, using hot water with disinfectant and a high pressure hose, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. The cleaning opertaion is concentrating on surfaces that have a high level of public contact.
Members of the public wearing masks queue to enter shops in Melton Mowbray as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A man wearing a protective face mask and clothing in Westminster, London after Prime Minister Boris Johnson put the UK in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A liquid oxygen tank is lifted by a crane at the ExCel centre, in east London, which is being made into a temporary hospital - the NHS Nightingale hospital - comprising of two wards, each of 2,000 beds, to help tackle the coronavirus pandemic.
Tape marks out 2 metre sections on the floor to implement social distancing measures at a Tesco store in Peterborough, after Prime Minister Boris Johnson has put the UK in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A London Ambulance service vehicle waits on a ramp at the ExCel centre, in east London, which is being made into a temporary hospital - the NHS Nightingale hospital - comprising of two wards, each of 2,000 beds, to help tackle the coronavirus pandemic.
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 25: Construction workers wear masks and maintain social distancing as they continue working near Battersea Power Station on March 25, 2020 in London, England. British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, announced strict lockdown measures urging people to stay at home and only leave the house for basic food shopping, exercise once a day and essential travel to and from work. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has spread to at least 182 countries, claiming over 18,000 lives and infecting hundreds of thousands more. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
4-year-old Lara Young from Wimbledon, one of many children across the UK who has created and placed a rainbow picture in her window in response to the Coronavirus outbreak. Photo credit should read: Katie Collins/EMPICS
A deserted Piccadilly Circus in London, the day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson put the UK in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
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They found the average death rate among patients under 30 was 0.3%, rising to 0.5% for those between 30 and 59, and 2.6% for people aged 60 or above.

Overall, they calculated the fatality rate to be 1.4%.

Although "promising", experts have stressed estimating death rates in the midst of an outbreak is "fraught with difficulties".

The coronavirus is thought to have emerged at a seafood and live animal market in Wuhan at the end of last year.

It has since spread to more than 160 countries, across every inhabited continent.

Since the outbreak began, more than 246,000 cases have been confirmed, of whom over 86,000 have "recovered", according to John Hopkins University data.

Cases have been plateauing in China since the end of February, with Europe now the epicentre of the pandemic.

Italy alone has had more than 41,000 confirmed cases and over 3,000 deaths.

In the UK, 3,269 people have tested positive for the virus, of whom 145 have died.

Globally, the death toll has exceeded 10,000.

'This is a very important new piece of data'

The new coronavirus was officially identified as the cause of an outbreak of illness in Wuhan on 9 January.

In an attempt to combat the infection, scientists quickly got to work uncovering how severe the infection could be.

Using "public and published information", the Hong Kong scientists looked at the 48,557 cases in Wuhan, of whom 2,169 died.

Based on this, the scientists calculated the overall "symptomatic" death rate in Wuhan at the start of the outbreak to range from 0.9%–to-2.1%, averaging at 1.4%.

Compared to those aged between 30 and 59 , the patients aged 60 or over were on average 5.1 times more likely to die "after developing symptoms", according to results published in the journal Nature Medicine.

Patients without symptoms would likely have gone unreported and not been included in the analysis.

"This is a detailed epidemiological analysis and the results are cautiously encouraging, in that they indicate a lower fatality rate from [the coronavirus] than has thus far been estimated," said Professor Robin May from the University of Birmingham.

"Using patient data from the original epicentre of the outbreak, Wuhan, they show an overall death rate of around 1.4% of symptomatic cases, which is lower than previous estimates.

"They also show that mortality rates appear to be very low for people under 50 (around 0.3-0.5%) which is, again, promising."

He stressed, however, the same results may not apply to other areas of the pandemic.

Death rates can vary according to the strength of the country's health service.

"One important caveat, is this study is based primarily on data from Wuhan and therefore does not necessarily reflect mortality rates that may be seen in other areas of the world," said Professor May.

"As with all epidemiological models, it also relies on various assumptions which, since we still know relatively little about the course of this infection in human populations, may not be entirely accurate.

"That said, however, this is a very important new piece of data that will help guide the public health response to this pandemic."

x

Why is the coronavirus' death rate so difficult to calculate?

The Hong Kong research comes after Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on 3 March: "Globally, about 3.4% of reported [coronavirus] cases have died."

Death rates are defined as the percentage of cases that die.

This is different from the death toll, which is the total number of deaths.

On 29 January, the WHO cited a likely death rate of 2%.

Just a few days later, the Chinese National Health Commission reported it appeared to be 2.1%, based on 425 deaths among 20,438 confirmed cases.

On 20 February, a WHO-China joint statement put the death rate at 3.8% based on 2,114 deaths among 55,924 cases.

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Coronavirus across the globe
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Coronavirus across the globe
04 April 2020, Lower Saxony, Hanover: Hospital beds are available in the makeshift clinic on the exhibition grounds, which was visited by Minister President Weil on the same day. The measures taken to contain the virus have currently had less effect than desired. Photo: Peter Steffen/dpa (Photo by Peter Steffen/picture alliance via Getty Images)
04 April 2020, Lower Saxony, Hanover: The makeshift clinic on the exhibition grounds, which was visited by Minister President Weil on the same day. The measures taken to contain the virus currently showed less effect than desired. Photo: Peter Steffen/dpa (Photo by Peter Steffen/picture alliance via Getty Images)
Civiles y policías inclinan la cabeza durante un homenaje a las víctimas de coronavirus en Wuhan, en la provincia de Hubei, en el centro de China, el 4 de abril de 2020. (AP Foto/Ng Han Guan)
A 'keep your distance' sign outside Boscombe pier, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
John Lewis and Waitrose staff latest to get coronavirus bonus
Aerial view of employees digging graves at Vila Formosa cemetery, in outskirts of Sao Paulo, Brazil on March 31, 2020. - Vila Formosa cemetery, the largest in Latin America with an area of 780 thousand square meters and where more than 1.5 million people were buried, had a 30% increase in the number of burials after the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by NELSON ALMEIDA / AFP) (Photo by NELSON ALMEIDA/AFP via Getty Images)
03 April 2020, Saxony, Dresden: ILLUSTRATION - A dental technician puts on protective goggles and wears an FFP3 respirator (posed scene) before treating a corona patient in a dental office. Photo: Robert Michael/dpa-Zentralbild/dpa (Photo by Robert Michael/picture alliance via Getty Images)
Families stands and watching the burial process of their family who died by coronavirus (Covid-19) at the burial site in Jakarta, on April 2, 2020. The Covid-19 coronavirus case in Indonesia is continue to increase, as of April 2, the government officially confirmed 1.790 cases, with 112 recovered and at least 170 fatalities. Taking Indonesia to the most fatalities in South-East Asia. (Photo by Aditya Irawan/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
03 April 2020, North Rhine-Westphalia, Duesseldorf: Karl-Josef Laumann (CDU), Minister of Health of North Rhine-Westphalia, speaks during a press conference. The state government will report on the current situation and the measures taken by the state government in the context of the corona pandemic as well as on cross-border cooperation with the Netherlands and Belgium. Photo: Federico Gambarini/dpa (Photo by Federico Gambarini/picture alliance via Getty Images)
BEIJING, March 28, 2020 -- Cemetery staff members leave after helping clean the tombstone and offer flowers at the Babaoshan People's Cemetery in Beijing, capital of China, March 28, 2020. People can ask the cemetery staff to help clean tombs and offer flowers to the deceased on their behalf via the reservation service system in Beijing around the Tomb-sweeping Day, which falls on April 4 this year, as methods to prevent mass gatherings amid the COVID-19 outbreak.(Photo by Peng Ziyang/Xinhua via Getty) (Xinhua/Peng Ziyang via Getty Images)
ANKARA, TURKEY - APRIL 03, 2020: A man walks through a mobile disinfection chamber for citizens in Mamak district amid the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak.- PHOTOGRAPH BY Altan Gocher / Barcroft Studios / Future Publishing (Photo credit should read Altan Gocher/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
PERTH, SCOTLAND - APRIL 03: Police patrol the High Street during the Coronavirus lockdown on April 3, 2020 in Perth,Scotland.The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has spread to many countries across the world, claiming over 50,000 lives and infecting over 1 million people. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Medical staff carry a patient infected with the COVID-19 onboard a medicalized TGV high speed train at the railway station in Strasbourg, eastern France, on April 3, 2020, prior to his evacuation, along with 23 other patients, to hospitals in Bordeaux southwestern France, where the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has been limited so far. (Photo by PATRICK HERTZOG / POOL / AFP) (Photo by PATRICK HERTZOG/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
ACEH, INDONESIA - APRIL 3 2020 : Acehnese Muslims are seen attending Friday prayers at the Islamic Center Mosque, in Lhokseumawe, without applying social distance rules amid fears of a coronavirus outbreak, on April 3, 2020, in Aceh, Indonesia. According to the latest report, on April 3, Indonesia confirmed 1,986 cases of COVID-19, with 181 deaths and 134 declared cured.- PHOTOGRAPH BY Fachrul Reza / Barcroft Studios / Future Publishing (Photo credit should read Fachrul Reza/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
STRASBOURG, FRANCE - APRIL 03: An official with a protective suit carries out disinfection work for trams in central Strasbourg, eastern France on April 03, 2020. (Photo by Elyxandro Cegarra/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Gardai stop and question people at a checkpoint on O'Connell Street in Dublin as the Covid-19 crisis continues. (Photo by Niall Carson/PA Images via Getty Images)
The French amphibious helicopter carrier (PHA) Dixmude leaves the port of Toulon, on April 03, 2020, to join the West Indies and Guyana in order to provide logistical support and sanitary equipment, in particular "more than a million surgical masks", "more than 170,000 FFP2 masks" and "several hundred liters of hydroalcoholic gel", to fight the epidemic of Covid-19. (Photo by Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP) (Photo by ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP via Getty Images)
Spanish soldiers assemble beds at a temporary shelter for homeless people set-up at a sports center in Valencia on April 3, 2020, amid a national lockdown to stop the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. - More than 900 people died in Spain over the past 24 hours for the second day running, government figures showed on Friday, although the rate of new infections and deaths continued to slow. (Photo by JOSE JORDAN / STR / AFP) (Photo by JOSE JORDAN/STR/AFP via Getty Images)
A medical staff waits for a patient infected with the COVID-19 to be embarked onboard a medicalized TGV high speed train at the railway station in Strasbourg, eastern France, on April 3, 2020, during the evacuation of 24 patients to hospitals in Bordeaux southwestern France, where the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has been limited so far. (Photo by PATRICK HERTZOG / POOL / AFP) (Photo by PATRICK HERTZOG/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
03 April 2020, Saxony, Dresden: ILLUSTRATION - A dental assistant puts on a protective visor before treating a corona patient in a dental practice. Underneath she wears an FF3 type respirator (scene posed). Photo: Robert Michael/dpa-Zentralbild/dpa (Photo by Robert Michael/picture alliance via Getty Images)
Britain's Health Secretary Matt Hancock touches his face and eye during the opening of the "NHS Nightingale" field hospital, created at the ExCeL London exhibition centre, in London on April 3, 2020, to help with the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. - The new state-run National Health Service (NHS) hospital, named after trailblazing 19th-century nurse Florence Nightingale, has been built in just nine days. (Photo by Tolga AKMEN / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)
Local resident Alex Girdwood working on her plot at Mudchute Allotments on the Isle of Dogs, east London, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. (Photo by Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images)
Medical staff carry a patient infected with the COVID-19 towards a medicalized TGV high speed train at the railway station in Strasbourg, eastern France, on April 3, 2020, prior to his evacuation, along with 23 other patients, to hospitals in Bordeaux southwestern France, where the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has been limited so far. - The information board reads : The disease generally disappears after a few days with rest, but (...). (Photo by PATRICK HERTZOG / POOL / AFP) (Photo by PATRICK HERTZOG/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Police personnel wearing coronavirus-themed helmets ride on horses as they participate in a awareness campaign during a 21-day government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus in Secunderabad, the twin city of Hyderabad, on April 2, 2020. (Photo by NOAH SEELAM / AFP) (Photo by NOAH SEELAM/AFP via Getty Images)
VLADIVOSTOK, RUSSIA - APRIL 2, 2020: Travellers are seen at the Vladivostok Airport on arrival on a repatriation flight from Bangkok, Thailand during the pandemic of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). All Russian citizens who are repatriated by plane must be subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine for observation. In Vladivostok, travellers are sent to an observation facility at the Sakharny Klyuch health resort. As of 2 April 2020, Russia has reported more than 2700 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, with 5 confirmed cases in the Primorye Territory. Dmitry Yefremov/TASS EDITORIAL USE ONLY; NO COMMERCIAL USE; NO ADVERTISING (Photo by Dmitry Yefremov\TASS via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, USA - APRIL 1: Empire State Building lights up like an ambulance to honour emergency healthcare workers responding to the new type of coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in New York City, United States on April 1, 2020. (Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
VLADIVOSTOK, RUSSIA - APRIL 2, 2020: A pilot in a face mask is seen at the Vladivostok Airport after a repatriation flight from Bangkok, Thailand during the pandemic of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). All Russian citizens who are repatriated by plane must be subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine for observation. In Vladivostok, travellers are sent to an observation facility at the Sakharny Klyuch health resort. As of 2 April 2020, Russia has reported more than 2700 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, with 5 confirmed cases in the Primorye Territory. Dmitry Yefremov/TASS (Photo by Dmitry Yefremov\TASS via Getty Images)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 02: An aerial view of an empty Bondi Beach on April 02, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. The Australian government has introduced further restrictions on movement and gatherings in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Public gatherings are now limited to two people, while Australians are being urged to stay home unless absolutely necessary. New South Wales and Victoria have also enacted additional lockdown measures to allow police the power to fine people who breach the two-person outdoor gathering limit or leave their homes without a reasonable excuse. Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory have all closed their borders to non-essential travellers and international arrivals into Australia are being sent to mandatory quarantine in hotels for 14 days. (Photo by James Gourley/Getty Images)
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL â April 01: Replica of Christ the Redeemer with surgical mask on Copacabana beach, to remind people about the danger of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil on April 01, 2020. (Photo by Fabio Teixeira/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
HIMEJI, JAPAN - APRIL 02: Tourists wear face masks as they sit on an empty tour boat during the cherry blossom season at Himeji castle lake on April 2,2020 in Himeji, Japan. Japan number of coronavirus (COVID-19) infections growing rapidly urban areas, Tokyo and Osaka city has suggested prevent the spread of coronavirus self-restraint bars, karaoke, live house and restaurant with entertainment. (Photo by Buddhika Weerasinghe/Getty Images)
Hindu priests wearing facemasks perform rituals during the festival of Rama Navami, the birthday of God Rama, at a temple during a 21-day government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus in Hyderabad, on April 2, 2020. (Photo by NOAH SEELAM / AFP) (Photo by NOAH SEELAM/AFP via Getty Images)
A woman wearing a protective face mask to help stop the spread of the coronavirus rides a bicycle past blooming cherry blossom trees Wednesday, April 1, 2020, in Tokyo. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
People wear protective face masks to help curb the spread of the coronavirus next to a police statue with its own mask at the Hua Lamphong Railway Station in Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, April 1, 2020. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Impoverished Indians offer prayers outside a roadside Hindu temple closed on account of lockdown to prevent the spread of new coronavirus in Prayagraj, India, Wednesday, April 1, 2020. India's 21-day lockdown has effectively kept 1.3 billion people at home for all but essential trips to places like markets or pharmacies. But the world's largest lockdown has turned into a humanitarian crisis for India's impoverished people. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)
Corporal Mathias Jahn, member of the German armed forces Bundeswehr, fixes his glasses beside a mobile coronavirus test station prior Bundeswehr members demonstrating his work in a test run after a press conference at a drive-through (drive-in) COVID-19 testing center in Gera, Germany, Wednesday, April 1, 2020. The appointment-only drive-through testing center began twelfe days ago. Medical staff reach into a car to take a nasopharyngeal swab from a patient. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)
People wearing face masks ride an escalator near a winged statue at an upscale shopping mall in Beijing, Tuesday, March 31, 2020. China on Tuesday reported just one new death from the coronavirus and a few dozen new cases, all brought from overseas. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
Visitors wearing face masks to help protect against the spread of the coronavirus walk along the Cheonggye stream under the posters for the upcoming National Assembly elections in downtown Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, March 31, 2020. The elections will be held on April 15 about 14,300 polling stations at all over the nation to pick lawmakers. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
An Indian worker prepares to load cartons of milk powder in a parcel train during lockdown as a precautionary measure against COVID-19 in Ahmedabad, India, Tuesday, March 31, 2020. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)
An ultra-Orthodox Jewish young man is tested for COVID-19 by medical personnel wearing protective gear as part of the government's measures to help stop the spread of the coronavirus in the orthodox city of Bnei Brak, a Tel Aviv suburb, Israel, Tuesday, March 31, 2020. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
A Kashmiri couple paddle their Shikara back home after buying flour and other food items from a near by market during lockdown in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Tuesday, March 31, 2020. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. (AP Photo/ Dar Yasin)
A man gets a shave outside closed shops during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventative measure against the COVID-19 novel coronavirus in the old quarters of New Delhi on March 30, 2020. (Photo by Money SHARMA / AFP) (Photo by MONEY SHARMA/AFP via Getty Images)
Ukrainian servicemen of the National guard wearing face masks, amid concerns over the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, guard the parliament during an extraordinary sitting on March 30, 2020. - Ukraine announced on Monday a sharp revision of this year's economic forecast from 3.7 percent growth to a 3.9 percent contraction due to the novel coronavirus. (Photo by Sergei SUPINSKY / AFP) (Photo by SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP via Getty Images)
Recipients of the charity 'Essener Tafel' food bank stand with their shopping trolley in a line at the food bank in Essen, western Germany, on March 30, 2020 amidst the new coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Ina FASSBENDER / AFP) (Photo by INA FASSBENDER/AFP via Getty Images)
An ambulance medical staff sprays disinfectant on his colleague after arriving at Wuhan Red Cross Hospital with an elderly woman, who recovered from COVID-19, at Wuhan in China's central Hubei province on March 30, 2020, after travel restrictions into the city were eased following more than two months of lockdown due to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. - Wuhan, the central Chinese city where the coronavirus first emerged last year, partly reopened on March 28 after more than two months of near total isolation for its population of 11 million. (Photo by Hector RETAMAL / AFP) (Photo by HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images)
A South African National Defence Force (SANDF) soldier gestures towards a line of shoppers at a supermarket in Soweto on March 30, 2020. - South Africa came under a nationwide lockdown on March 27, 2020, joining other African countries imposing strict curfews and shutdowns in an attempt to halt the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus across the continent. (Photo by MARCO LONGARI / AFP) (Photo by MARCO LONGARI/AFP via Getty Images)
NEW YORK CITY, NY - MARCH 29: The Oculus transportation hub and mall stands nearly deserted in lower Manhattan on March 29, 2020 in New York City. Across the country schools, businesses and places of work have either been shut down or are restricting hours of operation as health officials try to slow the spread of COVID-19. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
28 March 2022, Berlin: A family goes for a walk in Friedenau. All family members wear colorful masks as protection against the coronavirus. The masks were sewn by a friend of the family herself. Photo: Wolfram Steinberg/dpa (Photo by Wolfram Steinberg/picture alliance via Getty Images)
MOUNT JULIET, TN - MARCH 29: Aerial view as Pastor Greg Locke of Global Vision Bible Church holds services in the church parking lot on March 29, 2020 in Mount Juliet, Tennessee. Gov. Bill Lee signed an executive order that prohibits social gatherings of 10 or more in response to coronavirus (COVID-19), which is also recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - MARCH 29, 2020: An officer of the Mospriroda environmental agency in a face mask uses a megaphone to remind visitors about social distancing rules, at the entrance to the Serebryany Bor forest park in a north-west suburb of Moscow. The Russian government has announced a paid week off work (30 March to 3 April) for employed people and school holidays (21 March - 12 April), while Moscow's authorities have ordered the shutdown of restaurants, leisure facilities and other service industry businesses and urged Muscovites to self-isolate to counter the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Forest parks remain open but the public are warned to observe social distancing rules. Sergei Karpukhin/TASS (Photo by Sergei Karpukhin\TASS via Getty Images)
CORSO VITTORIO EMANUELE II, MILAN, ITALY - 2020/03/29: General view shows almost deserted corso Vittorio Emanuele II. The Italian government imposed unprecedented restrictions to halt the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, among other measures people movements are allowed only for work, for buying essential goods and for health reasons. (Photo by Nicolò Campo/LightRocket via Getty Images)
TEL AVIV, ISRAEL - MARCH 29: General view of an almost empty Beach in Tel Aviv on March 29, 2020 in Tel Aviv, Israel. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has spread to many countries across the world, claiming over 30,000 lives and infecting hundreds of thousands more. (Photo by Guy Prives/Getty Images)
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - MARCH 29, 2020: A young couple in face masks stroll in the Serebryany Bor forest park in a north-west suburb of Moscow. The Russian government has announced a paid week off work (30 March to 3 April) for employed people and school holidays (21 March - 12 April), while Moscow's authorities have ordered the shutdown of restaurants, leisure facilities and other service industry businesses and urged Muscovites to self-isolate to counter the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Forest parks remain open but the public are warned to observe social distancing rules. Sergei Karpukhin/TASS (Photo by Sergei Karpukhin\TASS via Getty Images)
Migrant workers and their families coming from Delhi, get inside an overloaded bus to reach their hometown and villages during government imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against COVID-19 coronavirus in Allahabad on March 29, 2020. (Photo by Ritesh Shukla/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
An Ultra-Orthodox Jewish man walks next to a billboard with instructions, on how to properly sneeze, in Jerusalem on March 29, 2020, amid measures to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus. - Israel has 3,865 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with another 99 in the occupied Palestinian territories and tens of thousands in self-isolation. (Photo by Ahmad GHARABLI / AFP) (Photo by AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP via Getty Images)
28 March 2020, Bavaria, Munich: The Königsplatz in front of the Propyläen is almost deserted. Photo: Sven Hoppe/dpa (Photo by Sven Hoppe/picture alliance via Getty Images)
LIVORNO, ITALY - MARCH 28: People attend afternoon mass whilst respecting social distancing in the ancient Church of the Madonna on March 28, 2020 in Livorno, Italy. In Italy liturgical celebrations are not prohibited and can take place with a restricted number of people necessary for the officiation of the rite and through respect for the appropriate distances and cautions. The Italian government continues to enforce the nationwide lockdown measures to control the spread of COVID-19. The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Italy has passed 92,470 with the death toll rising to over 10,000. (Photo by Laura Lezza/Getty Images)
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - MARCH 28: A shopping area is closed as a preventive measure against the new type of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Moscow, Russia on March 28, 2020. Parks, entertainment venues, restaurants and public places will be closed up between March 28 - April 5 in Moscow. (Photo by Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
SERIATE, ITALY - MARCH 28: Military personnel make preparations before leaving the church of San Giuseppe to carry coffins of coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic victims to crematorium in Seriate, Italy on March 28, 2020. (Photo by Pier Marco Tacca/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON- MARCH 28 - Prime Minister Trudeau announced that passengers with any symptoms of COVOD-19 will not be allowed to board domestic flights or trains as only essential industries are open as the province shut down non-essential services and industries to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in Toronto. March 28, 2020. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - MARCH 27: The message "Merci" (thank you) in tribute of those on the frontline to fight the coronavirus disease, is seen on the Eiffel Tower at night during the Coronavirus epidemic (CODIV 19) on March 27, 2020 in Paris, France. French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced today the extension of the confinement of the French until April 15, 2020.The country has introduced fines for people caught violating its nationwide lockdown measures intended to stop the spread of COVID-19. The pandemic has spread to at least 182 countries, claiming over 10,000 lives and infecting hundreds of thousands more. (Photo by Chesnot/Getty Images)
SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - MARCH 27: General view of an emergency makeshift field hospital as it is set up at Pacaembu Stadium for coronavirus (COVID-19) patients with a capacity of 200 beds on March 27, 2020 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. According to the Ministry of health, as of today, Brazil has 2.915 confirmed cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and at least 77 recorded deceases. (Photo by Miguel Schincariol/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TEXAS - MARCH 27: In this photo illustration, a postcard mailing outlining coronavirus guidelines from the White House and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention on March 27, 2020 in Dallas, Texas. The United States currently has over 1,300 deaths due to COVID-19. (Photo illustration by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
KIEV, UKRAINE - MARCH 27, 2020: Russian citizens boarding a train at Central Railway Station. Russia and Ukraine have agreed a deal to briefly resume train connection between the two countries to repatriate their citizens in connection with the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. A special train with Russian citizens will leave Kiev on 27 March and arrive in Moscow on the next day. On its return journey, the train will take Ukrainian citizens to Kiev. Anna Marchenko/TASS (Photo by Anna Marchenko\TASS via Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - MARCH 27: Jets are parked on runway 28 at the Pittsburgh International Airport on March 27, 2020 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Due to decreased flights as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, close to 70 American Airlines planes are being stacked and parked at the airport. (Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)
An employee of the Ministry of Public Works fumigates a street amid the COVID-19 outbreak in Santo Domingo on March 27, 2020. (Photo by Erika SANTELICES / AFP) (Photo by ERIKA SANTELICES/afp/AFP via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 27: Streets and plazas are empty in the Chinatown neighborhood as people stay home and non-essential businesses are ordered closed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic March 27, 2020 in Washington, DC. The United States surpassed China and Italy as the country with the most coronavirus cases with more than 97,000 people confirmed and more than 1,000 people having died from COVID-19. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Security forces arrest a man for operating a restaurant serving food to customers eating on the premises, which has been prohibited and only takeaways are allowed under measures aimed at halting the spread of the new coronavirus, in Nairobi, Kenya Friday, March 27, 2020. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. (AP Photo/Brian Inganga)
Impoverished Indians stand in a queue to receive free food in Hyderabad, India, Friday, March 27, 2020. Some of India's legions of poor and others suddenly thrown out of work by a nationwide stay-at-home order began receiving aid on Thursday, as both public and private groups worked to blunt the impact of efforts to curb the coronavirus pandemic. The measures that went into effect Wednesday, the largest of their kind in the world, risk heaping further hardship on the quarter of the population who live below the poverty line and the 1.8 million who are homeless. (AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A.)
People line up to buy supplies in a shop during the coronavirus outbreak in Barcelona, Spain, Friday, March 27, 2020. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
Residents of the densely populated Hillbrow neighborhood of downtown Johannesburg, confined in an attempt to prevent the spread coronavirus, stand and wave from their balconies, Friday, March 27, 2020. South Africa went into a nationwide lockdown for 21 days in an effort to mitigate the spread to the coronavirus. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Volunteers with the Red Cross sort homemade face masks meant to be sterilized and distributed among people in need in Prague, Czech Republic, Friday, March 27, 2020. In Czech Republic it is mandatory that all people must cover their mouths and noses in public to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus called COVID-19. Improvised methods such as a scarf or homemade mask are allowed.The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
Customers queue between social distancing markers on the pavement outside a supermarket in Westminster, London after Prime Minister Boris Johnson put the UK in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. (Photo by Victoria Jones/PA Images via Getty Images)
A man wearing a protective face masks shops at the partly closed Jerusalem's Mahane Yehuda Market on March 26, 2020, after Israel has imposed tight restrictions to contain the COVID-19 coronavirus disease, in Jerusalem. (Photo by MENAHEM KAHANA / AFP) (Photo by MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP via Getty Images)
A municipal worker disinfects a street in front of the Parliament as a measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic in Bishkek on March 26, 2020. (Photo by Vyacheslav OSELEDKO / AFP) (Photo by VYACHESLAV OSELEDKO/AFP via Getty Images)
Workers using heavy equipment lift medical equipment to be used for Corona Special Hospital (COVID-19) at Hang Nadim Airport in Batam, Riau Islands, , on March 12, 2020.. A number of medical devices for the Corona Special Hospital on Galang Island which were transported by the TNI Air Force Squadron 31 type A-1317 Halim Perdanakusuma (Photo by Teguh Prihatna/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
MADRID, SPAIN - MARCH 26: A man wearing a protective mask stands next to a car with a trunk full of flowers that the Madrina Foundation sends as a gift to the health workers and to decorate the field hospital at IFEMA, where people infected with coronavirus from other centres in the Community of Madrid are treated on March 26, 2020 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Eduardo Parra/Europa Press via Getty Images)
Indonesian bride Irra Chorina Octora and her Turkish partner Yavuz Ozdemir, wearing face masks amid concerns of the COVID-19 coronavirus, attend their wedding ceremony in Surabaya on March 25, 2020. (Photo by Juni Kriswanto / AFP) (Photo by JUNI KRISWANTO/AFP via Getty Images)
Pigeons gather on a place near a deserted road during the first day of a 21-day government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus, in Hyderabad on March 25, 2020. (Photo by Noah SEELAM / AFP) (Photo by NOAH SEELAM/AFP via Getty Images)
People stand on designated areas to maintain social distancing as they queue outside a medical store during the first day of a 21-day government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus in Allahabad on March 25, 2020. (Photo by SANJAY KANOJIA / AFP) (Photo by SANJAY KANOJIA/AFP via Getty Images)
EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / Members of the Syrian Civil Defence, also known as the "White Helmets", prepare to disinfect a school where displaced Syrians are sheltered in the town of Maaret Misrin in Syria's northwestern Idlib province on March 25, 2020 as part of efforts to prevent the spread of coronavirus. (Photo by Ahmad al-ATRASH / AFP) (Photo by AHMAD AL-ATRASH/AFP via Getty Images)
A man walks in Canary Wharf, London during rush hour, after Prime Minister Boris Johnson has put the UK in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
People on bikes ride along a deserted road during the first day of a 21-day government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus, in Chennai on March 25, 2020. - India's billion-plus population went into a three-week lockdown on March 25, with a third of the world now under orders to stay indoors, as the coronavirus pandemic forced Japan to postpone the Olympics until next year. (Photo by Arun SANKAR / AFP) (Photo by ARUN SANKAR/AFP via Getty Images)
A man holding a Japan national flag with 'supporting the world' written on it. 'Flame of Recovery' special exhibition at Aquamarine Park after Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games 2020 are announced to be postpone due to coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. (Photo by Viola Kam / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
25 March 2020, Saarland, Saarbrücken: A doctor takes a smear test at the drive-in test station organized by the German Armed Forces in a hall of the former Saarbrücken Trade Fair Centre. People who have a referral can come on foot or by car to have swabs taken for the test for the corona virus. Photo: Oliver Dietze/dpa (Photo by Oliver Dietze/picture alliance via Getty Images)
A girl with her father cross an empty road during a government-imposed lockdown as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus, in Allahabad on March 24, 2020. (Photo by SANJAY KANOJIA / AFP) (Photo by SANJAY KANOJIA/AFP via Getty Images)
MINSK, BELARUS - MARCH 24, 2020: Teachers Yekaterina Metelskaya (L) and Anastasia Studentsova give an online lesson via video link with first-grade pupils as the Stembridge Private School switches to distance learning amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Natalia Fedosenko/TASS (Photo by Natalia Fedosenko\TASS via Getty Images)
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - MARCH 24: A man walks down Buchanan Street as the country goes into lockdown on March 24, 2020 in Glasgow, Scotland. First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon along with British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, announced strict lockdown measures last night urging people to stay at home and only leave the house for basic food shopping, exercise once a day and essential travel to and from work. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has spread to at least 182 countries, claiming over 10,000 lives and infecting hundreds of thousands more. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Skegness pier is closed, the day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson put the UK in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. (Photo by Mike Egerton/PA Images via Getty Images)
Medical workers stretch a patient from an Italian Red Cross ambulance into an intensive care unit set up in a sports center outside the San Raffaele hospital in Milan, during the COVID-19 new coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP) (Photo by MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP via Getty Images)
The empty public transport station "Bahnhof Friedrichstrasse" is seen as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in Berlin, Germany, March 23, 2020. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch
Want a coronavirus test? If you have money and know the right doctor, not a problem
A picture shows intensive care units with respiratory aid machines set up under a tent at a military field hospital at the Emile Muller Hospital in Mulhouse, eastern France, on March 22, 2020, on the seventh day of a lockdown aimed at curbing the spread of the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) in France. (Photo by PATRICK HERTZOG / AFP) (Photo by PATRICK HERTZOG/AFP via Getty Images)
LEEDS, - MARCH 23: A children's playground lays dormant as Leeds City Council temporarily closes all of it's playgrounds though parks will still remain open for recreation, on March 23, 2020 in Leeds, United Kingdom. Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has spread to at least 182 countries, claiming over 10,000 lives and infecting hundreds of thousands more across the globe. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
A passenger walks with the luggage, as Italy tightens measures to try and contain the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at Rome's Termini train station, Italy March 23, 2020. REUTERS/Alberto Lingria
French rescue team wearing protective suits evacuate a patient from Mulhouse hospital as France faces an aggressive progression of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), March 23, 2020. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann
PARIS, FRANCE - MARCH 21: Policemen patrol with motorcycles at the Trocadero Square as the Eiffel Tower is seen in the background following the lockdown due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic in Paris, France on March 21, 2020. The death toll from the coronavirus in France hit 450, with 78 deaths in the last 24 hours, according to health authorities Friday. (Photo by Julien Mattia/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
A man wearing face mask, amid concerns of the COVID-19 coronavirus, walk past the pagoda in Yangon on March 21, 2020. (Photo by Shwe Paw Mya Tin/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Enfermeiro fotografa impacto do coronavírus nos hospitais da Itália
Vesselin Mareshki, right, leader of Bulgarian Political party Volya, and an MP from from his party wear protective suits during Parliamentary session in the Bulgarian National Assembly in Sofia, Bulgaria, on Friday March 20, 2020. For some people the COVID-19 coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, but for some it can cause very severe illness.(AP Photo/Vesselin Borishev)
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The UK is only routinely testing hospital patients for the coronavirus, who are severe by definition.

With early research suggesting the infection is mild in four out of five cases, many non-serious incidences in the community will likely go unreported, skewing the death rate.

"We do not report all the cases," Professor John Edmunds from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine previously said.

"In fact, we only usually report a small proportion of them.

"If there are many more cases in reality, then the case-fatality ratio will be lower".

Asymptomatic infections similarly confuse how the death rate is calculated.

"Since subclinical [an infection not severe enough to cause "observable" symptoms] and asymptomatic infections have been reported, [the] true case-fatality ratio cannot be estimated until population surveys can be undertaken to estimate the proportion of individuals that were infected but did not manifest symptoms," Dr Toni Ho from the University of Glasgow previously said.

Taking into account those with mild or no symptoms, Dr Christl Donnelly – from Imperial College London – estimated a 1% fatality rate appears more likely.

"In an unfolding epidemic it can be misleading to look at the naïve estimate of deaths so far divided by cases so far," she previously said.

"The infection-fatality ratio is the proportion of infections (including those with no symptoms or mild symptoms) that die of the disease.

"Our estimate for this is 1%."

Death rates can also change if countries alter how they define a case.

Cases "spiked" in China when it started defining a patient as "definitely infected" if they presented with symptoms, alongside a CT scan showing a chest infection.

Beforehand, patients were confirmed via a nucleic acid test. Nucleic acids are substances in living cells, making up the "NA" of DNA.

As a result, cases appeared to spike overnight in mid-February, despite one expert stressing it was "solely an administrative issue".

Quarantines and other interventions can also make the population less exposed to the infection, driving death rates down.

A lack of awareness at the start of the outbreak may have meant patients only sought treatment when their symptoms became severe.

Death rates could also reduce as patients start "self-identifying" their symptoms earlier on.

"The best estimates of case-fatality rates would have to occur once an epidemic was over," Dr Tom Wingfield from the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine previously said.

"Estimating in real time during the epidemic is fraught with difficulties".

20 March 2020, Schleswig-Holstein, Langballig: Cashier Bianca Krüger scans goods in an Edeka supermarket in the Schleswig-Flensburg district under a plastic foil. With this protective measure, the employees want to protect themselves from possible infection by the customers. Photo: Frank Molter/dpa (Photo by Frank Molter/picture alliance via Getty Images)

What is the coronavirus?

The coronavirus is a strain of a class of viruses, with seven known to infect humans.

Others include the common cold and severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars), which killed 774 people during its 2002/3 outbreak.

The coronavirus tends to cause flu-like symptoms initially, such as a fever, cough or slight breathlessness.

It mainly spreads face-to-face via infected droplets coughed or sneezed out by a patient.

There is also evidence it can be transmitted in faeces and urine.

While most cases are mild, pneumonia can come about if the infection spreads to the air sacs in the lungs, causing them to become inflamed and filled with fluid or pus.

The lungs then struggle to draw in air, resulting in reduced oxygen in the bloodstream and a build-up of carbon dioxide.

The coronavirus has no "set" treatment, with most patients naturally fighting off the infection.

Those requiring hospitalisation are offered "supportive care", like ventilation, while their immune system gets to work.

Officials urge people ward off the infection by washing their hands regularly and maintaining social distancing.

-This article first appeared on Yahoo

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