Coronavirus: First results

Some weeks ago the Austrian Government ordered a study at the Viennese SORA Institute. SORA is an Institute for Social Research and best known for its precise projections on Election Days. So the Ministry of Research ordered a study to calculate how many cases of COVID-19 can be estimated in Austria.

SORA took a representative sample of about 2,000 people in Austria (exactly 1,544) to calculate a projection of estimated COVID-19 cases in Austria on April 6th, 2020. Yesterday they published the results in a Press Conference.

To make a long story short, there were estimated 28,000 infected people in Austria some days ago (plus the ones in hospitals and ICUs). The range definitely lies between 67,000 at the most and 10,000 at the least. The highest possible number of 67,000 is still below 1% of the population.

Yet, 28,000 is the most probable number of infected people in Austria right now. This means 0.33% of the people are estimated to be COVID-19 positive. This figure is almost exactly twice as high as the tested results (including the recovered). This means the official results in Austria are most probably about 50% of the estimated.

What does this mean for the treatment of COVID-19? Let’s take a look at the graphs:

Unreported: 54.44%
Sick: 19.64%
Hospitalized: 3.49%
Intensive Care: 0.88%
Recovered: 20.48%
Dead: 1.08%

The “Real Case” is most probable case. As shown it estimates the cases twice as high as the tested cases. So most probably nearly 5% of the sick need hospitalization, nearly 1% intensive care. More than 20% of the infected have already recovered. The Mortality Rate CFR therefore would be about 1%.

The highest possible number of infected people in Austria is 67,000 (plus the ones in hospitals and intensive care). A number beyond this is statistically impossible. I call this case the “Worst Case TIME”:

Unreported: 80.33%
Sick: 8.48%
Hospitalized: 1.50%
Intensive Care: 0.38%
Recovered: 8.84%
Dead: 0.46%

Why do I call this the “Worst Case TIME”? It’s easy: If about 80% of the infected are unknown, the restictions cannot be lifted without risking many further cases. So the restrictions would be necessary for a much longer time. Above that, the people who recovered sum up to only less than 10%. The mortality rate CFR would be about 0.5%, given the restricted circumstances. Without restrictions the intensive care units would quickly reach their limits and the mortality rate would rise.

The lowest possible cases in this study are 10,000 (plus the ones in hospital and intensive care). I call this estimate “Worst Case DEAD”:

Unreported: 23.67%
Sick: 32.90%
Hospitalized: 5.84%
Intensive Care: 1.48%
Recovered: 34.31%
Dead: 1.80%

It’s obvious why this is the “Worst Case DEAD”. If we have only few unreported cases, then the mortality rate CFR in Austria would be the highest, in this case 1.80%. This mortality rate is also given the circumstances of restrictions and not exceeding the limits of hospitals and ICUs.

So this is the benchmark: Since we know that a pandemic affects up to 70% of the population within two years, a mortality rate of 1.80% would mean about 100.000 dead in course of COVID-19 (statistically calculated 111,623 at a population of 8.859million people). The arts of politics will be to hold the system below that number.

Statistics can be unbelievably painful.

P.S.: In an earlier calculation, I came up with slightly different results because I included the infected people in the hospitals into the base of the study.

In addition, I am aware that the official death toll is those people who tested positive for COVID-19 when they died. That means these people may also have died of some other immediate cause of death or of side effects from COVID-19.

I still published this calculation because I am dealing with orders of magnitude and these are the most precise numbers that are currently available to us.

This does not affect my conclusion that in the worst case, around 100,000 people in Austria could die in the wake of the pandemic. From today’s perspective, a larger number of deaths would therefore be (grossly) negligent.

The Source of the Data is the Austrian Ministry of Social Affairs and Health from April 10th, 2020.

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