The Wednesday Wow posts have been a bit off the beam recently. Four weeks ago we were wowed (but not in a good way) by an incited insurrection by an incompetent imbecile. Two weeks ago we were wowed (in a great way) by the inclusive Inauguration of the incoming Individual.
With all that more or less behind us, I have time to be wowed by interesting (and depressing) information about the insidious infection infesting the country and the world. I mention both because I became intrigued by difference between them.
It all started when I noticed the COVID-19 graphic on CNN.
What struck me was the first-glance apparent disparity between the numbers for the USA and the numbers for the world. With an incompetent and self-serving administration, I knew we hadn’t dealt with the pandemic very well, but that first glance seemed to make us look especially bad.
I made a mental note to try to check out the numbers at some point and see how case and death rates in the USA compared to those worldwide.
The idea occasionally crossed my mind again, and at one point I wasn’t in the middle of something, so I tried a quick search. I kind of assumed COVID-19 data would be easy to find, and it was.
I downloaded a dataset of stats partitioned by country and date, wrote a little Python code, and created some charts…
Looking at COVID-19 cases and comparing raw numbers worldwide with the USA shows we have a fair chunk of the cases, but the rest of the world seems to have more than we do. Here are the raw numbers:
But raw numbers are misleading. The USA has a very large population. Still, it has to give one pause to consider that over 25 million people in the USA have been diagnosed with the disease.
Look at what happens with the same data charted as a percentage of population:
Now we’re way ahead of the curve (which isn’t good). And just consider the implication that 8% of our population (that 25+ million) has been diagnosed with COVID.
The picture is about the same looking at fatalities. First, the raw numbers:
It’s worth mentioning again that more people have died in less than a year’s time due to COVID-19 (439,463 as of this dataset) than died during all six years of WWII (419,400).
Here’s the death rate as a percentage of the population:
And we’re still leading the world. Yay?
It’s sobering to realize that 0.1 percent of our population has died due to this disease.
However, we’re neither alone nor leading the pack when we compare to other countries, at least in terms of percentages.
In terms of raw numbers, “USA, we’re Number One!”
Number one by quite a stretch.
[Top ten on the left: United States, India, Brazil, United Kingdom, Russia, France, Spain, Italy, Turkey, Germany.]
[Top ten on the right: United States, Brazil, Mexico, India, United Kingdom, Italy, France, Russia, Spain, Iran.]
We do better when ranked by percentage of the total population, but look at the company we’re keeping (nice people, surely, but hardly world powers or even just power hitters):
But we’re still a contender given there are some 190 countries in the dataset.
[Top ten on the left: Andorra, Montenegro, Czechia, San Marino, Luxembourg, Slovenia, United States, Panama, Israel, Portugal.]
[Top ten on the right: San Marino, Belgium, Slovenia, United Kingdom, Czechia, Italy, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Liechtenstein, United States. Interesting that the UK is actually leading us here.]
The embarrassing thing is that, for a country of our status, power, ability, wealth, experience, science, and technology,… this really should have gone a lot better.
Not that there’s any mystery about why it didn’t.
Here’s a look at how fatalities are shared among the 16 countries with the largest death counts:
That’s an unfortunately big slice. Almost exactly one quarter.
[In clockwise order from 12-oclock: United States, Brazil, Mexico, India, United Kingdom, Italy, France, Russia, Spain, Iran, Germany, Colombia, Argentina, South Africa, Peru, Poland.]
I’ll end by adding a few more countries to the percentage charts.
First the cases:
Then the deaths:
We’re not entirely out front by ourselves, but we sure have put our foot in it.
I don’t know if you remember, but four years ago people used to wonder what might happen if some sort of major national disaster occurred. Would that administration rise to the occasion?
Well, I guess that question kinda got answered, didn’t it.
And after all this, the outright insurrection just four weeks ago, those may-they-be-eternally-damned Republicans still peddle their bullshit. There are times when I hope COVID wins.
My thanks to everyone at the Our World In Data site (OWID). It’s a pretty awesome site with a lot of tools and a lot of datasets. At some point I might look into doing some USA states charts. The COVID section of the site is really amazing.
It has a lot of interactive charts and goes far beyond just COVID data. It’s worth checking out!
Stay masked, my friends! Go forth and spread beauty and light.