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13 WTHR Indianapolis | Indianapolis Local News & Weather

Doctor sees COVID-19 survival rate through people and loss, not statistics

"If you were to walk in my shoes over the last several months, you may feel differently if you haven't seen what I have seen or experienced."

INDIANAPOLIS — Many people point to the high survival rate from COVID-19 to say the virus isn't a threat. 

But doctors say that's no reason to relax.

According to Johns Hopkins University, 98 percent of people survive COVID-19, and new data from Indiana researchers is more encouraging, calculating a 99.7 percent survival rate.

That sounds like great odds if you're talking about gambling, but this is life or death.

"My perspective as an ICU doctor over the last several months is that I have seen incredible wins, and I have seen incredible losses," said Dr. Graham Carlos at Eskenazi Health.

Carlos said he doesn't play the percentages. He said he sees COVID-19 through real people and real loss.

"If you were to walk in my shoes over the last several months, you may feel differently if you haven't seen what I have seen or experienced," he said. "Which is why I think a lot of those comments aren't coming from frontline health care workers. They are coming from people who aren't seeing those influx of patients."

The problem with coronavirus is how easily it spreads, so survival seems high, but in raw numbers, 270,000 Americans have died since March.

"A given survival rate really only matters to the person who gets the virus," Carlos said. "What's the survival rate of someone with my age and health conditions? That's the number that matters, not the global survival rate."