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VERIFY: What is the recovery rate for COVID-19 infections

Several online outlets continue to claim 99.9% of people who get the coronavirus recover. The number isn't accurate.

WASHINGTON — COVID-19 cases continue to drop in the United States as the number of people vaccinated grows. But, there is still a sizable minority of Americans hesitant to get the vaccine.  

Many online claims report the recovery rate from the disease is incredibly high: 99.9%

That is why a viewer sent us an email asking if the recovery rate for COVID-19 is near 100%.


Do 99.9% of people who get COVID-19 recover?

Our Sources:

Dr. Kawsar Talaat, an epidemiologist from Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Aditi Nerurkar, a physician from the Harvard Medical School and the latest statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).


This number is false. The percentage is close to 97-98% recovery from COVID-19.

What We Found:

“I don't know where that number comes from,” Dr. Talaat said.

The latest numbers for CDC show more than 33 million cases of COVID-19 in the United States. Of that number, more than 595,000 people died.

Credit: WUSA
The latest numbers on cases and deaths from the coronavirus pandemic.

“You can say 98% of people who get COVID-19 don't die, but 2% do and those 2% are almost 600,000 people in the United States alone,” Dr. Talaat said. “That's 600,000 family members and relatives.”

However, our experts said the number of COVID-19 deaths may also be underreported.

“One of the key reasons is because when the health system is burdened from surges it's difficult to track which deaths were due to an emerging infectious disease, in this case, COVID-19,” Dr. Nerurkar said.

If 99.9% of COVID-19 cases recovered, that would mean only around 3,300 people would have died.

Instead, that number is closer to 600,000 deaths in the United States.

So, this 99.9% claim is false.

Our experts report the recovery rate at the global level is smaller. According to WHO, around 97% of people who get COVID-19 across the world recover, but that still translates to more than 3 million deaths.

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