Different Death rates in different countries

Note that the average death rates are different for different countries.
This is primarily due to:

a) the ratio of older people (and people with pre-existing health conditions) infected in the population

The older the population that was infected, the higher the death rate. There is a big effect on the overall death rate from controlling the risk that these groups get exposed to (by keeping them in isolation). The numbers in this article show this large effect (you can select different cutoffs dynamically below and see the effect yourself).

b) the number of tests conducted

The more people you test, the more infected people you find that had no symptoms , and therefore the lower the death rate. It also lowers the expansion rate of the epidemic - by allowing a targeted isolation of the infected. This is why the WHO recommends to: test, test, test.

c) how the system accounts for a death in the statistics

If it is caused by CoronaVirus vs if the diseased had other underlying morbid disease such as terminal cancer but also contracted the Corona virus. Different countries in Europe have different policies here - making the cross-country numbers not comparable. Italy counts everyone (even those that were about to die anyway), Germany counts primarily the pre-existing condition as the source of death (they don't test death people for Covid).

d) the quality of the health care system

Number of beds, critical support system, doctors, nurses per 100,000 people. Hard to change.

e) how overwhelmed that health care system is during the peak of the epidemic

Also depends on who is infected. The younger and without previous health conditions, the fewer hospitalizations, and the shorter those hospitalizations - much lower stress on the system.

At this point, it is unlikely that the death rate differences between countries would be a characteristic of the virus (unless a mutation would completely change its infection and impact). This does not seem to be the case so far.

The main controllable parameters that can make a meaningful difference in the short time available, are points (a) and (b). Isolating people are risk (a) also has a direct effect on the economy from both the workforce as well as the demand side.
This is the primary focus of this article.

Point (b), could have an effect if the tests are very quick and ubiquitous, because it would allow fewer people to be in quarantine and thereby increase the available workforce in the economy.
Point (c), is a just statistical procedure that makes comparisons between countries hard, but has no real impact on people dying.
Points (d) and (e), are hard to change in the short term, but whatever can be done, should be done and is not a focus of this article.
(Just as a side note on a tangent here: the capacity of the system could perhaps be dramatically increased by flying infected people requiring critical care to China where there is large idle capacity in beds, and doctors currently - assuming the political barriers would allow for this. China managed to get 40,000 doctors in short time from different provinces to help in the outbreak).

So, focusing on point (a), the most important factor to keep an economy going while reducing the risk of death from the Coronavirus is to decide what is the age cutoff that one would use for a lockdown.
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