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Coronavirus: covid-19 has killed more people than SARS and MERS combined, despite lower case fatality rate

BMJ 2020; 368 doi: (Published 18 February 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;368:m641

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  1. Elisabeth Mahase
  1. The BMJ

The novel coronavirus that has so far spread from China to 26 countries around the world does not seem to be as “deadly as other coronaviruses including SARS and MERS,” the World Health Organization has said.

At a briefing on 17 February WHO’s director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said that more than 80% of patients with covid-19 have a “mild disease and will recover” and that it is fatal in 2% of reported cases. In comparison, the 2003 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) had a case fatality rate of around 10% (8098 cases and 774 deaths), while Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) killed 34% of people with the illness between 2012 and 2019 (2494 cases and 858 deaths).12 …

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