High Infection Fatality Rate Among Elderly and Risk Factors Associated With Infection Fatality Rate and Asymptomatic Infections of COVID-19 Cases in Hong Kong

Jun Tao, Xiaoyu Zhang, Salihu S. Musa, Lin Yang, Daihai He

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Background: Since the emergence in December 2019, the COVID-19 pandemic has become one of the greatest global public health threats in history. However, asymptomatic infections have increased the challenges of providing accurate estimates for the infection fatality rate (IFR) of COVID-19. 

Methods: We calculated the asymptomatic case ratios based on the reported COVID-19 cases in Hong Kong where intensive testing has been conducted in close contacts and high-risk populations. We estimated the IFR using both symptomatic and asymptomatic cases as denominator. The boosted regression tree (BRT) and multivariable logistic regression models were used to identify relative contribution and effect size of the risk factors associated with the asymptomatic cases and IFRs. 

Results: The ratio of the asymptomatic patients in Hong Kong was higher than many other regions over the world. Imported cases had a higher asymptomatic proportion than local cases. Older age and male were associated with a higher IFR than younger age and females. 

Conclusion: Policymakers should consider the potential risk factors for the asymptomatic infections and IFRs by the Hong Kong surveillance data to mitigate the diseases and reduce the case mortality of COVID-19.

Original languageEnglish
Article number678347
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalFrontiers in Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 24 May 2021


  • asymptomatic COVID-19 cases
  • boosted regression tree
  • elderly
  • Hong Kong
  • infection fatality rate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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