A country comparison of death rates per million citizens attributed to COVID-19 shows why elected leaders across the globe find themselves in very different situations.
The graph below shows the death rate per million citizens for five countries starting at Day 1. Day 1 is when the number of cases reported for each country was in the range of 1,500-2,000.
Day 1 was March 1st for Italy, March 10th for France and Germany, March 12th for the US and March 16th for the United Kingdom.
The graph shows three different trends for the five countries.
The first trend includes the United Kingdom and Italy. United Kingdom is 15 days behind Italy and is tracking Italy’s death rate per capita very closely. For example, at Day 8, Italy was at 6 deaths per million and the United Kingdom was at 5 deaths per million.
The latest information for Italy, Day 23, shows a death rate of 100 deaths per million. With the United Kingdom tracking this trend, this might explain the recent call to shelter in place in the United Kingdom.
The second trend is related to France. At Day 8 the death rate in France was 2.6 deaths per million citizens. Approximately half of the Italy death rate at Day 8.
The last trend is related to the US and Germany. At Day 8, both the US and Germany have death rates below 1.0.
From Day 8 to Day 12, the death rates have increased for all countries, but as the graph shows, US and Germany are on a different trend line.
At Day 12 the US death rate is 1.75 deaths per million citizens. In Italy at Day 12, the death rate was 16.77 deaths per million residents.
These numbers highlight the different circumstance facing leaders around the world as they grapple with what to do next.
Now just imagine the different circumstance that must be present in the fifty different states across the US. And also within the states. For example, both New York and Florida are large states that are not impacted by the virus uniformly.
While the current focus is on preparing hospitals to deal with the inevitable rise in cases, it makes sense that the death rate numbers will play a role in the future decisions by elected leaders. Leaders who will soon have to balance fighting COVID-19 and restoring the national economy.
*Note- for comparison purposes, the H1N1 pandemic killed an estimated 12,469 people in the US from April 2009 to April 2010. This translates to 40 deaths per million US citizens. Also, 60 million US citizens were infected by the H1N1 flu.