Determining mortality rates can be difficult. Some countries tried to test as many citizens as they could. Others, like the United States thus far, have tested only those who had more moderate symptoms, those who live in an area of severe viral community spread, or those who worked in the healthcare industry. Some people are tested several times. Also, some testing methods are not as reliable for positive results. So, when determining mortality rates, using the number of positive tests can be unreliable.
It seems that determining mortality rates based upon a country’s population is more reliable. The population of a country is easy to find on Google, and it seems the method of determining population among countries would be quite reliable. This was the method used for determining populations of countries.
When looking at the number of deaths, the CDC counts a death as a due to COVID-19 as long as there was a positive test to the virus. This seems unreasonable since victims of suicide, homicide, or auto accidents would be listed as dying from the virus if they tested positive. Other countries may have the same methods, but they all report to the World Health Organization. So, WHO is the most reliable indicator we have for the number of deaths in a country. For purposes of this blog post, that is what I used for the death numbers.
Globally, one death occurs for every 4800 people in the population from COVID-19 infection (WHO, “Situation Report- 92,” 04-21-2020). In the United States, one death occurred for every 9200 people in the population, so compared globally, the United States was almost better at reducing deaths by a factor of two.
When looking at the smaller countries of Iceland, Finland, and Norway, their mortality numbers were better by reducing deaths by a factor of 4-6 times when compared to the United States. Denmark was better at reducing deaths by a factor of almost two when compared to the United States.
When looking at the larger European countries of Spain, Italy, France, and the United Kingdom, their mortality rates were worse than the United States by a factor of more than two and less than five.
Of the countries that excelled, these included South Korea, New Zealand, and Singapore. These countries had mortality rates that were twenty-four to sixty times better than that of the United States.
Not all countries were studied. These examples were hand-picked because of their being reported worldwide for multiple reasons. Here is the raw data on these mortality rates:
The numbers shown indicate the ratio of the number of citizens in the population needed to average one death from COVID-19 (included are local numbers for comparison):
Singapore 532,000; New Zealand 371,000; Plano, Texas 288,000; South Korea 218,000; Collin County, Texas 75,000; Finland 56,000; Texas 56,000; Dallas County, Texas 44,000; Iceland 36,000; Norway 35,000; Canada 22,000; Germany 18,000; Denmark 16,000; United States 9200; Sweden 5800 (herd immunity); Globally 4800; United Kingdom 4100; France 3200; Italy 2500; Spain 2200.
It seems there is much to learn from Singapore, New Zealand, Plano, Texas, and South Korea when it comes to a pandemic.