Why has the COVID-19 death rate increased so much?

How does the increase in tests carried out affect the total number of cases reported in Latin America? What impact does the use of the% of deaths in the last 60 days have for evaluating situations?

November represented the eleventh consecutive month with an increase in COVID-19 cases in the world. Also, it was the eleventh consecutive month with an improvement in the % of deaths:



Both trends are closely related to the increase in tests performed, which has increased in the same proportion:


So, it is not that the virus has mutated to a less lethal strain/variation, but at the beginning of the year, the few tests available were only administered to people in critical condition, whereas now it is possible, in most countries, to have the test with mild symptoms or even no symptoms, which are obviously less likely to end up dying than those with severe symptoms.

Other causes that have helped to improve the % of deaths is that hospitals and doctors have learned to prepare to treat the flow of patients and the importance of especially protecting the elderly.

Based on this improvement in % of deaths, at Roller, we recently adjusted our formula to assess the severity of the situation in each country and region, and instead of using the % of total deaths, we are now using the % of deaths observed in the last 60 days. Our purpose is to make an accurate assessment of risk, understanding that there are serious consequences when underestimating it, but also overestimating it.

In Barranquilla (Atlantic region in Colombia), for example, the situation went from severe to frail with the update of the formula, since the % of deaths improved from 2.9% in March-April to 1.4% in October-November. This is how our evaluation of the 259 regions changed according to the initial and current systems, with the most recent data:


Severity Number of regions according to the old system

(% total deaths)

Number of regions according to the new system

(% deaths in the last 60 days)

Very Serious 83 78
Severe 61 59
Frail 58 61
Under Control 57 61


This difference between the % of total deaths and the % of deaths in the last 60 days is also key to measure the willingness and ability of a government to learn and improve how to handle the virus. If the last 60 days is not significantly less than the total (5 times lower is the world average), it is probably a reflection of that ineptitude. In this graph we see that difference:

For any questions or comments, contact us at media@rodillo.org.


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Carlos Corredor

Carlos Corredor

Comencé mi carrera como periodista deportivo y analista estadístico de beisbol, pero a pesar de que el deporte siempre me apasionará, su trivialidad me hizo cambiar de rumbo hace varios años. Hoy al revés: algo tan trascendente como la gravedad del COVID-19 en Latinoamérica me hizo volver, ahora afortunadamente de la mano de un gran equipo en Condor Agency, con el que comenzamos esta iniciativa sin fines de lucro que es Proyecto Rodillo. Esperamos que nuestra data y perspectivas ayuden a tomar las mejores decisiones y salvar la mayor cantidad de vidas posibles. Perfil de LinkedIn

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