Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak in January, this list, which was initially headed by China, Thailand and other Asian countries, has undergone significant changes. Spain, Italy, France, Germany and the UK now join the US among those countries that have been hardest hit by the virus, judging by the number of confirmed cases. However, the list would look slightly different if assessed by calculating the preliminary death rate among those industrialised nation with the highest morbidity.
- Belgium has the highest case fatality rate among developed nations (15.6%) as more than 7,200 COVID-19 cases, out of the 46,134 registered so far, have resulted in death. Nearly 0.4% of its 11.5 million population has now been affected by the virus.
- France, which has been struggling with coronavirus since February, now stands only in fourth place for the number of recorded cases of infection. It has a 14% death rate, still one of the highest in Europe and the world, despite having a significantly lower number of recorded cases than either Italy or Spain.
- The situation has been similar if not worse in the United Kingdom, another country in Europe (although not the EU) that has been heavily stricken by the pandemic. With 152,840 official cases, the death rate in the UK has soared to 13.5% in April.
- Italy had been leading the corona-related death record for some time, until being surpassed by the US on 11 April. More than 26,600 deaths from the virus have been recorded in Italy. The death rate from the infection reached 13%, but recovery rate has been edging up to, and currently stands at 32%.
- In Sweden, with its 10.2-million population, more than 2,270 people have now died from coronavirus-related complications, bringing its total fatality rate to 12.1%. Only 5% out of 18,640 previously infected people have successfully recovered from the disease.
- Spain, which has now more coronavirus cases than its Italian neighbour, reached a death rate of nearly 10% in the first days of April, but has not jumped much higher ever since. The number of recovered patients in the country remains quite high though, at more than 50%. Following a soaring number of infections, still only 0.4% of its 47 million population has been affected by the virus.
- In the United States, with its staggering 965,933 number of coronavirus cases, only 5% of infections have resulted in death. Less than 0.2% of its 331 million population has been affected by the “deadly” virus so far. In comparison, around 630,000 Americans die annually just from heart-related diseases.
- In Germany, which closely follows Italy and France in the number of the infections recorded (157,770 cases so far), the death rate from the virus has stayed at 3%, while more than a quarter of previously infected people have now fully recovered.
- In Russia, where the coronavirus crisis has been unfolding with a slight delay since the end of March, bringing it on to the list of top 10 countries with the highest number of recorded cases, the fatality rate from COVID-19 has not yet reached 1%.
- Meanwhile in China, where the first incidents of COVID-19 were officially reported in late December, most active cases have now been closed. This makes it even easier to calculate the fatality rate from the virus, which has stuck at 5.5%, with more than 90 percent of infected people overcoming the disease.
Most cases of Covid-19 are still ongoing and it might be a bit misleading for now to calculate the preliminary death rate from the virus. However, these alternative statistics illustrate that the fatality rate does not necessarily reflect the reach of the coronavirus in every country, but rather suggests some alternative angle the one should look through when studying the soaring number of “deadly” infections around the world.
*The data used for calculations was taken from the Johns Hopkins University website on 27 April.