Thursday, June 10, 2021

Per Capita

 SO many people just repeat the line about the US having the "most deaths from COVID," as evidence that Trump (but NOT the CDC, FDA, and other bureau-nebishes) "botched" the American "management" of  the pandemic. For example,  NPR's constant "America is the world leader in Coronavirus fatalities..."

I have some sympathy for that (except the absolving of the CDC, which was borderline criminally negligent; to be fair, NPR hammered the CDC) view. But it really does matter that the US is a very large country, with a large population. The more relevant consideration is deaths per 100,000, and by THAT measure the US is not even in the top 10 "most deaths." 

Took the data from the Johns Hopkins database, and then deleted all the tiny countries with fewer than 10,000 total deaths (there were MANY countries that had very high death rates per capita, but only a few hundred deaths total, which seems to put TOO MUCH emphasis on the per capita thing...)

The resulting table, deaths per capita as of June 1, 2021, for countries with at least 10,000 total deaths, is reproduced below.  And the results are interesting.

1. The US is not in the TOP TEN.

2. Countries with national health services, including the UK, Italy, and Belgium, have MORE deaths per capita than the US.

3. Sweden, which of course did the "no lockdowns" thing, has FAR fewer deaths per capita than the US. You can say Sweden had more deaths than Sweden WOULD have had, if they had locked down, but clearly locking down everything by force was not a panacea. 

Anyway, if you want to say that the US health authorities got a lot of things wrong, and never acknowledged that they made this much worse than it should have been, I'm with you. But the US is not even close to the "most deaths" if you use a reasonable measure that controls for total population size. 





1 comment:

LoneSnark said...

Two big influences of deaths is age and intensity of exposure. Many of the highest death countries were the first hit, so they didn't have time to adopt the only three behaviors that actually reduce deaths: isolating the old, isolating the sick, and increasing personal space. All three of these are voluntary and people started doing them before the government mandates, lockdowns do not help.