World, Europe, Latest on coronavirus outbreak

COVID-19 numbers, ratios reflect different realities

While numbers say US most affected country by virus, ratios say Belgium

Fahri Aksut   | 24.05.2020
COVID-19 numbers, ratios reflect different realities


Even if coronavirus numbers announced by authorities are correct, doubts have arisen about whether they reflect the real situation in various nations.

More than 5.3 million people around the world have contracted the virus. Although that seems frighteningly large, considering the global population is more than 7.7 billion, the figure is relatively small because it amounts to just 0.066% of the world’s population who have contracted the virus.

The numbers and ratios tell us different things.

So far, 6.5% of those who were infected, or more than 340,000, have died.

Those figures increased above 15% in some countries, but in some countries that have strong social security and healthcare systems, it remained below 3%.

For example, some countries considered developed states, have unfortunately reported too many fatalities because of weak and fragile health systems.

Many European countries have disappointed their citizens.

Number of cases compared to the population

The strict level and implementation methods countries have taken as part of the fight against COVID-19 affected the rate of spread of the virus, despite their population.

For example, although China has a population that is almost five times that of the US, the largest number of cases and fatalities worldwide has been recorded in America.

The US currently has the highest number of cases with 1.61 million. Its regional neighbor to the south, Brazil, follows with more than 347,400 cases.

American cold war era rival, Russia, is third on the list with more than 335,800 infections.

Other countries with high numbers of infections include the UK: 258,500; Spain: 235,200; Italy: 229,300; France: 182,000; Germany: 179,900; Turkey: 155,600 and Iran with more than 133,500.

But when those figures are compared to the respective populations, the rankings surprisingly change.

For example, the US, Spain and Belgium rank first with a rate of 0.49%.

In terms of the number of infections, Belgium, which is in the middle of the global virus case list with 56,810, shoots to the top of the list, when compared to its population.

Next are the UK and Italy at 0.38% and France follows with 0.27%.

Other countries changing rank when this list is arranged in this way are, respectively; Russia: 0.23%; Germany: 0.21%; Turkey: 0.18%; Iran: 0,16% and Brazil at 0.15%.

This ratio in China is only 0.005% due to its high population.

Fatality number or mortality ratio

Unfortunately, the US is also at the top of the global death list with the number there exceeding 96,600.

The UK has more than 36,700 fatalities, Italy 32,700; Spain 28,600; Brazil 21,048; Belgium 8,261; Iran 7,300 and Mexico 6,900.

Russia, which is third in number of cases, ranks 17th with more than 3,380 deaths.

Turkey is ninth in infections but ranks 14th in deaths with more than 4,300 fatalities.

When the number of infections are compared to deaths, the ratios of some countries exceed the world average.

Particularly, high mortality rates in some developed countries showed how inadequate health systems are in those countries.

While the mortality rate among patients in Belgium is 16.2%, it is 15.5% in France and 14.2% in the UK and Italy.

In Spain, it is 12.2%; Mexico 11.2%; Brazil 6.3%; US 6%; Iran 5.5%; Germany 4.6%; Turkey with 2.8% and Russia 1.1%.

Recovery figures and ratios

More than 2 million people managed to beat the virus. The numbers show the US again at the top of the list. More than 350,100 there have recovered.

The US is followed by Germany with more than 159,700 recoveries and Spain 150,300.

Italy: 138,800; Brazil: 135,400; Turkey: 117,600; Russia: 107,000; Iran: 104,000; China: 79,300 and France 63,900.

When case numbers and number of recoveries are compared, rankings are once again flipped.

China, from where the virus spread to the world, is at the top with 94.3% of COVID-19 patients recovering and discharged from hospitals.

Germany is next with a 88.8% recovery rate, Iran with 77.9% and Turkey with 75.5%.

Spain stands at 63.9%; Italy 60.5%; Brazil 40.9%; Russia 32.1% and the US 21.7%.

When looking at ratios rather than numbers, it can be said that Europe, especially Belgium, is more affected by the virus.

This is why social security and healthcare systems are questioned in many European countries that are viewed as developed countries.

However, in this process, Turkey has won the appreciation of many countries and international organizations, including the World Health Organization, thanks to its methods, systems and measures that have been implemented in the fight against COVID-19 outbreak.

The ratios and numbers in this story were calculated based on numbers published May 23 by US-based Johns Hopkins University and latest population figures.

Figures can change when nations announce new coronavirus numbers.

Countries at the top of the list of the Johns Hopkins University data were compared when ratio ranking was calculated. Calculating the ratios of other countries can change the ranking.

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