BOSTON (CBS) – It has been months since emergency rooms in Massachusetts were packed with coronavirus patients and now the Centers for Disease Control says the death rate from COVID-19 has dropped to roughly .65 percent from 2 or 3 percent earlier in the pandemic.
“My reaction to that is that that’s exactly what we would expect,” said Dr. Shira Doron, Infectious Disease Expert and Hospital Epidemiologist at Tufts Medical Center.
Doron says there are a number of reasons why the COVID-19 death rate could be trending down.
“We are seeing shifting infections into younger populations. That will lower the death rate,” she said.
Increased testing is catching infections earlier and doctors have learned how to better treat the virus.
Doron and others do not believe that the virus has gotten milder.
“I would not at this point say that COVID has changed, that the population has changed or is becoming more resistant to COVID-19. We just don’t see that,” said Dr. Cassandra Pierre, an epidemiologist at Boston Medical Center.
The death rate for COVID-19 remains nearly 6 times that of the flu, which has an estimated death rate of .1 percent.
“You apply that number to the entire population of Americans who are susceptible to the virus, you still get millions of deaths,” said Doron.