Icosian Reflections

…a tendency to systematize and a keen sense

that we live in a broken world.

Age and Covid-19 IFR in Africa

nb: This analysis has not been updated to reflect the realized results of the pandemic after publication.

I replicated my estimation of population-average IFR for Africa-ex-South-Africa (henceforth "Africa"), using the same methodology as my India calculations. Africa is significantly demographically younger than either India or the US -- the top quintile of age in Africa starts at 39, India at 49, and the US at 61.

I estimate that the age effect creates an Africa population-average IFR 20% that of the US rate (i.e., a US rate 4.94× greater), assuming age-uniform infection rates and no difference in medical care. This effect is driven by the reduced population share of age>70 in Africa (just 18% that of the US).

My work is here, and here's the primary chart:

In my India analysis, I wrote:

The effect of medical care differences on IFR-by-age curves is of first-order importance to this analysis; as an example, if lack of care were equivalent to 12 years in fatality-rate terms, it would triple India population-average IFR to 0.75%. (...)

A corresponding statistic is that if lack of care were equivalent to 18 years in fatality-rate terms, it would raise Africa IFR to the US level of 0.63%. My tentative hypothesis is that Africa Covid-19 fatality is likely of less concern than regions with meaningfully older populations.

If you'd like to redo these calculations for a population of interest to you, you're welcome to clone the sheet and copy your own numbers into the "Africa pop by age raw" tab. PopulationPyramid.net has easily-formatted CSVs on many countries / regions, but you can clerk in any source with numbers for male and female population in 5-year age buckets.

If you do end up doing this, please let me know; I'm curious what comes of it!