MIAMI – Doriela Muñoz and Carlos Saldarrianga held hands. They were both using wheelchairs.
Nurses and other healthcare workers clapped to celebrate they had survived COVID-19, the highly contagious respiratory illness caused by the new coronavirus, also known as SARS-CoV-2.
Pedro Jimenez, 42, also survived COVID-19 after being temporarily misdiagnosed at Mercy Hospital. He was working on Thursday and said he recovered, but he wants to warn others.
“I was blessed that I was able to come out of it, but this is not a game,” Jimenez said. “We need to stay home. We need to maintain distance. We need to take care of ourselves so that we don’t get this virus.”
When the disease first flourished in China, epidemiologists didn’t have enough data to estimate the case fatality ratio for COVID-19. But now researchers know the majority of patients are surviving and the majority of the patients who are dying are age 65 and older.
Epidemiologists’ estimates vary from country to country depending on the availability of testing, quality of healthcare and the mitigation strategies each country is implementing. The mortality rate can also change as the virus mutates.
The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention first estimated 2 to 3% of patients were dying of the disease. In January, the World Health Organization estimated a 2% mortality rate. Chinese authorities later estimated to 3 to 8% of patients were dying.
The United Kingdom’s Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre estimated 76% of patients ages 16 to 49 years old survived, 60% of patients ages 50 to 69 survived and 27% of patients ages 70 and older also survived.
Epidemiologists will continue to gather data during the coronavirus pandemic. In Florida, hundreds continue to die. As of Thursday evening, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had confirmed 16,826 cases in Florida and 371 deaths.