SARS-CoV-2: fear versus data

Int J Antimicrob Agents. 2020 May;55(5):105947. doi: 10.1016/j.ijantimicag.2020.105947. Epub 2020 Mar 19.


SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus from China, is spreading around the world, causing a huge reaction despite its current low incidence outside China and the Far East. Four common coronaviruses are in current circulation and cause millions of cases worldwide. This article compares the incidence and mortality rates of these four common coronaviruses with those of SARS-CoV-2 in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries. It is concluded that the problem of SARS-CoV-2 is probably being overestimated, as 2.6 million people die of respiratory infections each year compared with less than 4000 deaths for SARS-CoV-2 at the time of writing.

Keywords: COVID-19; Coronavirus; SARS-CoV-2.

MeSH terms

  • Betacoronavirus*
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections / economics
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Fear
  • Humans
  • Pandemics / economics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / economics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / epidemiology*
  • SARS-CoV-2