Can you compare nations?

Woman walks past Reichstag wearing a mask

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The United States, for example, has far more Covid-19 deaths than any other nation – as of 20 April, an overall of over 40,000 deaths.

And the overall number of registered coronavirus deaths from those 5 countries, as of 20 April, was over 85,000 – more than two times that of the United States.

The more testing a nation carries out, the more it will discover individuals who have coronavirus with only moderate symptoms, or possibly no symptoms at all.

So, the death rate in verified cases is not the same as the total death rate.

Another measurement is how numerous deaths have happened compared with the size of a country’s population – the numbers of deaths per million individuals.

However that is identified partly by what phase of the outbreak a private country has reached. If a nation’s first case was early in the worldwide break out, then it has had longer for its death toll to grow.

The UK federal government compares how each country has actually done given that recording its 50 th death, however even that presents some issues.

A country that reaches 50 deaths later ought to have had more time to prepare for the virus and minimize the ultimate death toll.

When studying these comparisons, it is likewise worth keeping in mind that the vast majority of people who get contaminated with coronavirus will recover.

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Political elements

It is harder to have confidence in information which comes from countries with securely controlled political systems.

Is the variety of deaths taped up until now in countries like China or Iran accurate? We do not really know.

Computed as a number of deaths per million of its population, China’s figures are extremely low, even after it modified upwards the death toll in Wuhan by 50%

So, can we truly rely on the information?

Population elements

There are real distinctions in the populations in different nations. Demographics are particularly essential – that’s things like average age, or where people live.

Comparisons have been made between the UK and the Republic of Ireland, however they are troublesome. Ireland has a much lower population density, and a much larger portion of people reside in rural areas.

It makes more sense to compare Dublin City and County with an urban area in the UK of about the very same size (like Merseyside) than to attempt to compare the two countries as a whole.

You also need to make sure you are comparing like with like in terms of age structure.

A comparison of death rates in between countries in Europe and Africa would not always work, due to the fact that nations in Africa tend to have much younger populations.

We know that older individuals are far more likely to die of Covid-19

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Different health services

On the other hand, many European nations have health systems that are better funded than those in the majority of African countries.

Which will also have an impact on how severely hit a nation is by coronavirus, as will elements such as how quickly different cultures adapt to social distancing.

Health systems obviously play an important role in attempting to manage a pandemic, but they are not all the same.

” Do people actively seek treatment, how easy is it to get to healthcare facilities, do you need to pay to be treated well? All of these things differ from place to place,” states Prof Andy Tatem, of the University of Southampton.

Another big aspect is the level of comorbidity – this implies the number of other conditions, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease or high blood pressure – which people might currently have when they get infected.


Nations that did a lot of screening early in the pandemic, and followed it up by tracing the contacts of anyone who was infected, appear to have been most effective in slowing the spread of the illness so far.

Both Germany and South Korea have had far fewer deaths than the worst afflicted countries.

The number of tests per head of population may be an useful statistic to predict lower fatality rates.

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The timing of testing, and whether tests took place primarily in medical facilities or in the neighborhood, likewise need to be taken into account.

Germany and South Korea tested strongly really early on, and found out a lot more about how the virus was spreading out.

But Italy, which has also done a lot of tests, has actually suffered a fairly high numbers of deaths.

” What you want to know is why one nation might be doing better than another, and what you can learn from that,” says Prof Jason Oke from the University of Oxford.

But up until this outbreak is over it will not be possible to know for sure which countries have dealt with the virus much better.

” That’s when we can actually learn the lessons for next time,” states Prof Oke.

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Post Author: Izabella Jaworska

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