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COVID-19 Is Probably 99% Survivable for Most Age Groups, but PolitiFact Rated This False

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Robby Soave | 8.9.2021 12:22 PM

A viral Instagram post claimed that COVID-19 is 99 percent survivable for most age groups—the elderly being an important exception. The post cited projections from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), but was flagged as misinformation by the social media site and rated "false" by the Poynter Institute's PolitiFact.

That's a curious verdict, since the underlying claim is likely true. While estimates of COVID-19's infection fatality rate (IFR) range from study to study, the expert consensus does indeed place the death rate at below 1 percent for most age groups.

PolitiFact is correct that the CDC's September 2020 modeling projections should not be used to calculate the IFR. The post also erred in comparing the vaccine efficacy rate of 94 percent to the COVID-19 survivability rate. This is an apples and oranges comparison; it does not mean that the average person's natural immune response is better at fighting the disease than the vaccines. At present, the overwhelming majority of hospitalized COVID-19 patients are unvaccinated. Since the beginning of the year, 98 percent of COVID-19 deaths in Virginia were among the unvaccinated. The vaccines are not in competition with the body's natural immune system—they render COVID-19 even more mild, and even more survivable.

To the extent the post is implying that most people have no use for the vaccine, it is indeed a piece of misinformation. But PolitiFact went much further, rating as false the very idea that COVID-19 has a low IFR for most people.

"Experts say a person cannot determine their own chances at surviving COVID-19 by looking at national statistics, because the data doesn't take into account the person's own risks and COVID-19 deaths are believed to be undercounted," wrote PolitiFact. "Survival........

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