Wuhan coronavirus numbers in the U.S. compared to Europe

Some time today, or maybe tomorrow, the number of deaths attributed to the Wuhan coronavirus in the U.S. will reach 100,000. Unfortunately, we’re hitting that number just about on schedule for those of us who have relied on graph paper — as opposed to fancy models, wishful thinking, or a sense of panic — to project the death count.

40 percent of the U.S. deaths are from New York and New Jersey. Around 50 percent of them probably have occurred in nursing homes and related facilities (and that’s likely a conservative estimate). Factor out these deaths, and the U.S. death count is around 30,000.

According to Worldometer (the source for all numbers cited below), there have been 300 deaths from the virus per one million people in the U.S. That’s a better number than Spain’s (615), Italy’s (542), the UK’s (also 542), and France’s (435). It’s a far worse number than Germany’s (100).

Few people are dying from the virus in Spain, Italy, and France these days. So the gap between the U.S. — where around 1,000 people are dying from the virus per day — will probably narrow a bit in the coming weeks.

I thought it might be interesting to compare death rates in Europe with those in various American states. Belgium, with 804 deaths per 1 million, is the hardest hit European country. We have four states that have been hit harder — New York (1,503) New Jersey (1,254), Connecticut (1,036), and Massachusetts (924).

States with per capita death totals comparable to Spain, Italy, the UK, and France include Louisiana (579), Rhode Island (574), and Michigan (523). The District of Columbia, at 612, also falls within that range. However, D.C. is entirely urban.

My state, Maryland, has been comparatively hard hit by the virus. Our per capita death number is 381. That’s slightly higher than that of the Netherlands (340).

Germany is viewed as a model for coping with the Wuhan coronavirus. However, our two biggest states both have a lower number of deaths per capita, so far. As noted, Germany has had 100 deaths per one million. California has had 96; Texas has had 53.

Minnesota has had 156 coronavirus deaths per one million people. That’s comparable to Canada (170). In European terms, it’s considerably better than Switzerland (221), a little better than Luxembourg (176), and a little worse than Portugal (130).

Among the less populated nations, Hungary (51 deaths per million), Norway (43), and Israel (30) are considered some of the biggest success stories outside of the Orient. U.S. states that fall within this range include Tennessee (49), Indiana (44), West Virginia (40), Arkansas (38), Oregon (35), and Utah (30). South Dakota (57) falls slightly above the range, as does Maine (58).

Wyoming (21), Montana (15), Alaska (14), and Hawaii (12) fall well below the 30-51 range. But, of course, the demographics of these states, as well as many of those mentioned in the paragraph above, make them less conducive to the spread of the virus than, say, Israel.

Readers who have penetrated this far into my post can draw their own conclusions from these numbers. I conclude (1) that our experience in the U.S. with this virus has so far been comparable to, but a little less severe than, heavily populated European nations and (2) that, so far, outside of the Northeast, the comparison between this virus and the flu probably does not deserve the derision it has received from some epidemiologists and many mainstream media commentators.

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