The world figures show accumulated cases of 107m or 1.3% of the world population with deaths at 2.365 million or 0.03%. These figures are by nature of variable quality, depending on how much testing was done throughout in each country, and subject to variations in definitions. There is the perennial issue of death with covid or death definitely from covid, In some places people will have died at home and not been tested. In other cases there will be tests with false positives. They are nonetheless important figures and invite come comparisons, subject to analysis of how they were collected in each country, how much reliable testing took place and how deaths were certified.
The figures show that the Europeans and Americans have suffered more than the rest of the world. The USA has had a very high caseload, at 8.4% of the population compared to the UK at 5.8%, Portugal at 7.6% and Germany at 2.75%. Belgium has had the worst death rate apart from a few small countries at 0.186%, with the UK and Italy also quite high by world standards. The USA at 0.1456% shows that it has a better recovery rate from its high infection levels. India has only had a case rate of 0.78% and a death rate of 0.01%.
Case numbers have been higher in the advanced world and have been higher in winter than in summer. Clearly high levels of international travel can introduce a community to more variants and cases of the virus, and large cities like London, New York and Paris see spread from more social contacts using mass transit systems and enjoyment of the social facilities of hospitality, leisure and entertainment which attract more people there. Asian countries in general have fared better that Europe or the Americas. Could there be something in the diet, or in past exposure to Asian flu types which has given Asian populations better resilience to the disease? Did they handle test and trace better than the Europeans?
It would be good to have more commentary from experts on how and why, for example, Taiwan had practically no deaths from the virus and was able to get her economy back and running fully, so GDP is now higher than a year ago. Why has Germany done so much better than Italy or Spain? How does the USA manage cases of the virus to achieve a lower death rate as a proportion of cases? Is it partly that the USA tests more and so identifies more mild or otherwise invisible cases of the virus? Is it a greater range of approved medicines and treatments?
This week I was pleased to be sent an update by Ministers on all the tests underway in the UK of existing drugs and treatments. It will be good to see more results soon, as a wider range of treatment options would probably help doctors and their patients.