COVID-19 Deaths: Italy, 1 in 5,789 People; United States, 1 in 157,499

By Patrick Goodenough | March 30, 2020 | 4:35am EDT
A patient is tested for the coronavirus in Portugal. (Photo by Horacio Villalobos/Corbis via Getty Images)
A patient is tested for the coronavirus in Portugal. (Photo by Horacio Villalobos/Corbis via Getty Images)

( – From Hillary Clinton (“He did promise ‘America First’”) to MSNBC’s Chris Hayes (“We are quite literally doing a worse job of containing the virus than any other country on earth”), critics are trashing President Trump over the fact the U.S. is now reporting more confirmed COVID-19 cases than any other country.

But numbers of confirmed cases are a function of testing. As testing in the U.S. has ramped up, it was only a matter of time before that testing would detect sizeable numbers of cases moving through the American population.

Some of the world’s most populous nations, Pakistan and Indonesia among them – have carried out very little testing for countries with populations of 233 million and 267 million, respectively. India (pop. 1.3 billion) and Nigeria (pop. 214 million) are even further behind.

In the United States (pop. 332 million) more than 850,000 tests had been carried out as of early Monday (more than 710,000 of them negative), according to the COVID Tracking Project.

Numbers of confirmed cases are also a function of official reporting. Iran’s figures, for example, have been widely called into question. Many critics are not convinced that China is providing accurate data.

As of early Monday, just over 34,000 deaths around the world have been attributed to COVID-19, according to the real-time database of the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

Seven countries report more than 1,000 deaths each. They are Italy (10,779), Spain (6,606), China (3,306), Iran (2,640), the United States (2,112), France (2,606), and Britain (1,228).

(Graph: CSSE, JHU, CIA World Factbook)
(Graph: CSSE, JHU, CIA World Factbook)

Of the 12 countries reporting the highest numbers of deaths – those seven plus the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, and South Korea – Italy leads not just in overall numbers, but also has the highest number of deaths in proportion to its population, at 0.0172 percent. Put another way, one in 5,789 Italians has died of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

The next highest per capita COVID-19 death toll is reported from Spain, where one in 7,571 people have died.

In distant third place is the Netherlands (one in 22,412), followed by France (one in 26,035), Belgium (one in 27,194), Switzerland (one in 28,013), Iran (one in 32,167), and Britain (one in 53,551).

In ninth place, considerably lower down the scale, is the United States (one in 157,499), followed by Germany (one in 163,591).

Last among the 12 are South Korea (one in 341,020), and finally – if the Chinese Communist Party's figures can be believed – China (one in 421,662).


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