Months into pandemic, COVID-19 death rate still elusive


David Joles – Star Tribune

Health care workers monitored a COVID-19 patient after proning the patient in an ICU at Bethesda Hospital on May 7 in St. Paul.

Four months after the first Minnesotan died of COVID-19, health officials still aren't sure how lethal the pandemic is to people in the state.

The math is simple when dividing 1,574 deaths by 51,153 known cases in Minnesota to reach a 3.1% death rate, which is close to the 3.4% rate in China when COVID-19 emerged this winter. Known cases represent a fraction of infections, though, making the overall death rate lower and more complicated.

"I don't think we're going to be able to answer that question for a while," said Dr. Timothy Schacker, vice dean for research at the University of Minnesota Medical School.


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