Press Can’t Do Basic Math, Was Wrong to Claim COVID Lethality in Spain Was 1.1%
As I pointed out at the time, even more evidence for it now
In May Spain finalized a giant study (70,000 samples were taken!) showing that by around April 20th around 5% of the Spanish population had antibodies to SARS-CoV-2.
The Spanish press then took the 5% number (2.35 million) and divided it by the 24,000 COVID-related deaths to proclaim the lethality of the virus in Span was an enormous 1.1%.
I wrote at the time that was irresponsible and unlikely to be true because 68% of the deaths had occurred in nursing homes and there were reasons to believe the infection rate in these institutions was much higher than among regular citizens.
Indeed, a later July study on antibodies prevalence in nursing homes that I just came across showed that in Madrid region fully 53% of residents had developed them (compared to 10% of the Madrid region generally):
Interesting thread on Madrid’s #COVIDー19 seroprevalence study in nursing homes. 53% of nursing home residents IgG (+) after first wave, 37% of employees.
Gives an idea of the wave’s magnitude, which has maybe helped a bit in 2nd wave.@GeriSoc @A_MacLullich @ahernemer https://t.co/3XAxugrBLT
— Cris Ojeda-Thies (@ojedathies) November 7, 2020
In all likelihood, 53% actually underestimates how many were exposed or infected since many never develop antibodies (albeit the elderly, who are more likely to suffer symptoms, are more likely to).
As I said at the time, the lethality of the first wave in Spain was not 1.1%, but under 0.35%. How much under depends on how many contracted the virus but shook it off without ever developing antibodies.