Feb 12, 2020 09:21 PM

Charts of the Day: How Deadly Is New Coronavirus?


As the new coronavirus spreads to country after country, people around the world are wondering: How infectious is it? And how deadly?

As of Wednesday morning, the virus — which the World Health Organization has named Covid-19 — has infected more than 45,000 people and claimed over 1,000 lives worldwide.

Both figures are well above those for severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), the other two coronaviruses that have emerged and spread around the globe over the past two decades.

However, the novel coronavirus seems to be less deadly than those predecessors, with a fatality rate of around 2.5% as of Wednesday, well below 9.6% for SARS and 34.5% for MERS. The rate measures how many people who catch the disease die from it.


Fatality rates vary in different parts of China, which has been rattled by the virus since its outbreak in December.

The rate in Hubei, the central province at the center of the epidemic, stood at around 3.2% as of Tuesday, well above 0.4% for other regions on the Chinese mainland.

Within the province, the highest fatality rates were 5.6% and 4.2%, reported respectively by Qianjiang and Wuhan, the provincial capital in which the virus is thought to have originated, according to official data (link in Chinese) as of Tuesday. The lowest rate was 0.2% in the city of Shiyan.


Multiple experts say that elderly people are more vulnerable to infection, especially those who are already physically weak. In Beijing, over a quarter (link in Chinese) of 337 infections as of Sunday are among people aged above 59.

Meanwhile, a number of children have also caught the disease, including a one-day-old infant in Wuhan.


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Caixin’s coverage of the new coronavirus

It remains unclear when a turning point will arrive, but the epidemic in China may peak in mid-to-late February, Zhong Nanshan, a leading respiratory expert noted for his role in the fight against SARS, said Tuesday at a webinar in Guangzhou.

In China, the number of confirmed infections has kept soaring over the past weeks, surging past 44,000 on Tuesday.


However, growth in the number of confirmed cases has slowed recently. As of Tuesday, the number of daily new infections reported in Hubei had dropped for two consecutive days, while the figure of those outside the province had fallen for eight straight days.


Xu Peng, Chen Xiaohan and Gao Xu contributed to this report.

Contact reporters Tang Ziyi (, Lin Jinbing (, and editor Joshua Dummer (

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