- The Wuhan coronavirus has killed a staggering 29% of all confirmed cases in King County, Washington.
- This disproportionately high rate of death demonstrates how dangerous the virus is for elderly Americans.
- Covid-19 could alter America’s demographics if it spreads as widely as the seasonal flu.
So far, the coronavirus outbreak in King County Washington seems to be one of the most fatal in the world. Out of the 31 residents confirmed to be infected with the virus, nine have died according to Washington State’s department of health.
This gives the virus a fatality rate of 29% among confirmed cases.
King County’s fatality rate is likely to decrease as more test results come out. But the large death rate demonstrates how devastating this new disease can be when it breaks out in high-risk populations.
The Outbreak Started in a Nursing Home
King County’s coronavirus outbreak started in a Life Care Center located near Seattle. The facility housed elderly adults and is linked to almost all the Covid-19 cases reported in the county.
The coronavirus outbreak in King County has one of the highest reported fatality rates in the world with ten out of 31 confirmed cases resulting in death. This gives the disease a 29% fatality rate in that population as of the latest data. This is significantly higher than Covid-19’s official fatality rate of 3.4% according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
No other part of the United States reports Covid-19 fatalities nearly as high as King County.
Coronavirus Could be Devastating for Older Americans
According to recent census data, around 15% of Americans are age 65 and older. This population is especially vulnerable to respiratory illnesses due to their weakened immune systems and pre-existing conditions.
During the 2018-19 flu season, around 35 million Americans contracted the flu and 34,000 died. This gives influenza a case fatality rate of around 0.01%. Among people 65 and older, the fatality rate jumps to 8.5%. The data from King County suggest Covid-19’s fatality rate could be significantly higher among older adults.
This article was edited by Sam Bourgi.