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COVID-19 by the Numbers


This writing is in January 2021. The COVID-19 Pandemic is far from over. Vaccine inoculations began in December 2020. Much has been said and written about COVID-19. What do the numbers tell us? The number source for this article is from the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at John Hopkins University (JHU).[i] The veracity of the numbers themselves is also a point of contention. These are the numbers the experts claim they are using and will use to make decisions and evaluations.

[i] https://gisanddata.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6, last accessed 1/5/21.

Projections: Hits and Misses

A report dated March 2, 2020 by the Centre for Applied Macroeconomics Analysis projected the deaths from COVID-19. The report “The Global Macroeconomics Impacts of COVID-19”, predicted if the virus wasn’t contained in China it would kill at least 236,000 people in the United States in the first year. This part was accurate. It also projected it would kill at least 15,188,000 people worldwide.[i] This proved a gross overestimate. As of January 4, 2021, worldwide COVID-19 deaths were 1,849,436.[ii]

Andy Slavitt predicted on a March 14 Twitter post, “By March 23 many of our largest cities and hospitals are on course to be overrun with cases.” It didn’t happen.

A University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School model predicted the U.S. would have 4.3 million cases and 230,000 deaths by July 24, 2020.[iii] The model came out on May 20 when the U.S. already had 1.5 million cases and over 92,000 deaths. On July 24, at 17:41 Eastern Time there were 4,097,270 confirmed cases and 145,000 deaths.[iv]

An average of models of 23 research groups had a better track record. Their predictions were made a couple of weeks in advance. They correctly predicted the death tolls for August 1 and 8.[v]

Ed Young claimed there would be 2.2 million COVID-19 deaths in the United States by September 21. On October 1 the U.S. death toll was 207,605.[vi]

The University of Washington IHME model and Youyang Gu correctly predicted the U.S. death tolls for November 1. Dr. Anthony S. Fauci correctly warned the COVID-19 cases in the U.S. would exceed 100,000 per day. The IHME predicted the U.S. death toll would be 410,000 by the end of 2020.[vii] The prediction overestimated the toll by 65,000.

Dr. Jonathan Reiner of George Washington University said the U.S. daily death toll will be near 4,000 per day by December 6.[viii] The highest daily toll by December 6 was on December 4 at 2,879. On January 7 the U.S. daily death toll was 4,085.

Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance predicted the UK could have 50,000 cases of COVID-19 a day and 200,000 deaths by November. The UK death toll as of November 7 was 48,978 and as of November 12 the highest daily cases was 33,517 on November 12.[ix]

Then Presidential Candidate Joe Biden stated during the October 22 debate COViD-19 will have killed 422,925 people by the end of the year. Then President-elect Joe Biden upped that figure to 520,642 on December 2 at a Virtual Event on the Economic Impact of COVID-19.[x] COVID-19 deaths on December 31, 2020 at 5:23 PM Eastern Time stood at 345,015.

[i] The Global Macroeconomic Impacts of COVID-19: Seven Scenarios by Warwick McKibbin and Roshen Fernando, 20200302_COVID19.pdf (brookings.edu), Table 9 – Impact on Populations under each scenario, last accessed 1/4/21.

[ii] https://gisanddata.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6, last accessed 1/5/21.

[iii] Daily Mail.com, More than 5 million Americans will be infected with coronavirus and 290,000 will die by the end of July if social distancing isn’t adhered to, according to COVID-19 model, Coronavirus US: 5million will be infected by July, model shows | Daily Mail Online, last accessed 1/4/21.

[iv] https://gisanddata.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6, last accessed 1/5/21.

[v] Yahoo News, US COVID-19 epidemic projects to worsen, July 15, 2020, https://news.yahoo.com/us-covid-19-epidemic-projected-worsen-151435022.html, last accessed 1/4/21.

[vi] The Atlantic, “How the Pandemic Will End”, by Ed Yong, How Will the Coronavirus End? - The Atlantic, last accessed 1/4/21.

[vii] Blabber Buzz, Grim Statistics Coming out Lead To These Dire Coronavirus Predictions For US, September 6, 2020, https://www.blabber.buzz/conservative-news/1006152-grim-statistics-coming-out-lead-to-these-dire-coronavirus-predictions-for-us?utm_source=c-alrt&utm_medium=c-alrt-email&utm_term=c-alrt-AOL&utm_content=2KuAYRXy9q1eT8j7ns1mvEZUa, last accessed 1/4/21.

[viii] CNN, US coronavirus: Hospitalizations hit another record as experts warn Thanksgiving gatherings could worsen the pandemic by Jason Hanna and Christina Maxouris, 11/27/2020, https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/us-coronavirus-daily-deaths-will-soon-double-expert-says-while-others-warn-thanksgiving-gatherings-could-worsen-case-surge/ar-BB1bnlJ0?ocid=msedgntp, last accessed 1/4/21.

[ix] The Sun, https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/politics/12725279/chris-whitty-vallance-lockdown-coronavirus/, last accessed 1/4/21.

[x] https://twitter.com/AndrewSolender/status/1334253899180601345, last accessed 1/4/21.

Number Comparisons

After COVID-19 spread from China the Republic of Korea and Italy were initially among the hardest hit. As late as the summer of 2020 one of the questions medical people asked of patients was if they recently returned from Korea. The mortality rate in Italy was about twice as high as Korea. A reason given for the difference was smoking and women. Women smokers in Korea are rare. Many Italian women smoke. Korea quickly got the contagion under control. Korea was held up as an example of how to control COVID-19. Korea used a combination of widespread testing, contact tracing, and lockdowns. Korea used cell phone tracking technology for their contact tracing. Korea had a sharp rise in cases during August. That outbreak was brough under control by the end of the month. A larger outbreak happened in November and reached its peak of 1,237 cases on December 24. On January 5, 2021 Korea had 839 cases. That was comparable to their initial outbreak which peaked at 851 cases on March 3, 2020.

There have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The number of confirmed cases, are cases reported by the respective governments. The truthfulness of governments and people reporting to governments is a point of contention. The People’s Republic of China took a sharp rise to 15,136 new confirmed cases on February 13. The number of new cases fell off sharply. On March 3 there were only 151 new cases in China. On March 12 China reported 11 new cases. There were no new cases on a couple of days in April and many days in May. China boasts of its great success in containing COVID-19. American officials claim China isn’t reporting accurate numbers.

The United States soon became the country with the most COVID-19 cases. On January 5, 2021 at 9:22 AM Eastern Time the number of confirmed cases stood at 20,825,423.[i] India imposed strict travel and other restrictions. It had a slower rise in confirmed cases. On January 5 India had less than ½ the cases the U.S. had despite having more than 4 times the population. Indian cases reached its peak in mid-September 2020 and the number of new cases has been on an almost steady decline. On January 4, 2021 India reported 16,275 new cases. The U.S. cases were 180,477.

As of January 4, 2021, the U.S. has had the 4th largest number of cases per capita, 62,749.84 per million. The countries with higher per capita cases are; Montenegro, Luxembourg, and Czechia. The U.S. is number 12 in the most deaths per capita, 1,066.08 per million. The U.S. is between Spain and Hungary. Almost all the countries that have higher per capita deaths are in Europe. The lone exception is Peru with 1,147.342 deaths per million. Belgium has the highest deaths per capita, 1,699.883 per million. The United Kingdom is 8th on the list with 1,112.807 deaths per million.[ii] China is the lowest in both categories of countries with a significant number of people who have been infected.

As of January 3, the overall U.S. mortality rate for COVID-19 was 1.7%. This is down from a high over 6%. The mortality rate drop is part of a worldwide trend. On July 11 Belgium had the highest mortality rate at 15.6%. By July 23 the UK had the highest mortality rate to 15.3%. On August 24 Italy had the highest mortality rate at 13.6%. On October 18 Mexico had the highest rate at 10.2%. On January 3 Mexico had the highest at 8.79%.

On July 11 the U.S. mortality rate was 4.2%, and there were at least 23 countries with higher mortality rates. There were at least 53 countries with higher mortality rates than the U.S. on January 3. The U.S. mortality rate was between Switzerland and Morocco. Singapore has consistently had the lowest mortality rate that stood at 0.05% on January 3. The list of 18 countries with mortality rates below 1% includes; Serbia, Turkey, Venezuela, Lebanon, Nepal, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, and Malaysia.

There are interesting differences within regions. As of January 6, Canada had a 2.6% COVID-19 mortality rate compared to the U.S. mortality rate of 1.7% and Mexico’s mortality rate of 8.8%. Belgium had a mortality rate of 3%, The Netherlands mortality rate was 1.4%, and Luxembourg’s mortality rate was 1.1%. Sweden, initially adopted a policy of protecting those who were especially vulnerable while carrying out normal activities. Sweden had a mortality rate of 1.9%, Denmark had a mortality rate of 0.83%, and Norway had a mortality rate of 0.89%. Finland had a mortality rate of 1.55%. India had a mortality rate of 1.4%, Bangladesh had a mortality rate of 1.5%, and Pakistan had a mortality rate of 2.1%. As of January 7, Israel had a mortality rate of 0.75%. Lebanon’s mortality rate was 0.76%. The West Bank and Gaza had a mortality rate of 1%. Egypt’s mortality rate was 5.5%.

There doesn’t appear to be a correlation between the developed and developing countries and their COVID-19 mortality rates. The UK’s mortality rate as of January 6 is 2.8%, that’s slightly lower than El Salvador and slightly more than Algeria. Germany at 1.9% is slightly lower than Albania at 2.0% and about the same as The Philippines. The disparities have gotten smaller as time wore on. How soon a disease struck a country is a significant factor in overall mortality rate. On July 11, China had an overall COVID-19 mortality rate of 5.4%. On January 3, China’s overall mortality rate was 5%. April 17 saw a huge spike in COVID-19 deaths in China, 1,290. Since then, there have only been a few days with reported deaths and the daily deaths were all in single digits.

As of January 7, New Jersey had the highest mortality rate, 3.85%, of any American state. The New York mortality rate was 3.64%. The Washington DC mortality rate was 2.63%. Maryland’s mortality rate was 2.09% and Virginia’s mortality rate was 1.38%. California and Texas have respective rates of 1.11% and 1.54%. Utah and Alaska are tied for the lowest mortality rates at 0.45%.

These numbers give a snapshot on how things were, not a projection of what 2021 and the future will hold.

[i] https://gisanddata.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6, last accessed 1/5/21.

[ii] https://gisanddata.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6, last accessed 1/5/21.

Countries With Highest COVID-19 Mortality Rate as of 1/3/21

Source: Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University (JHU)

CountryMortality Rate





















Countries With Lowest COVID-19 Mortatliy Rate as of 1/3/21

Source: Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University (JHU)

















Cote d'Ivoire






This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Robert Sacchi


gyanendra mocktan from Kathmandu,Nepal on January 12, 2021:

Thank you Robert

gyanendra mocktan from Kathmandu,Nepal on January 12, 2021:

In Nepal, mortality rate is low. In fact very low. 25 million of vaccine? Is it workdwide or in Nepal? The government is making noise about the vaccine here, but my intuition tells me that common people hardly believe the government. People were paniced for some months but now they hardly listen to the news. I too was glued to tv but instead, I started reading eastern spiritual books after second month of lockdown. Then I did running around for David Richardson for his visa and for the arrival of his new passport from U.K.

He got student visa from 6th of August 2020 to Jan 6, '21 for learning Nepali language.

Then I landed up in the hospital on 7th of August till 13th August'20.

It happened due to the food poisoning.

I could really walk around from 2nd of November'20.

I thought I wouldn't be able to greet 2021. Thank God I am here.

Since two days, I've started to run around for David's New passport and visa again.

He wobbles due slipped disk on his hip at the age of 66. Soon he's going to be 67.

Why mortality rate is low in Nepal? My guess: We have herbs and spices to cure such ailments.

One Ayurveada doctor said corona virus is nothing to be afraid of. Medicine is already there in our kitchen. SPICES!

He also added he had treated some of his relatives whose names he didn't want to say. They are all fit and fine.

The people those who died were also not exactly of corona but they had other health problems such as asthama, blood pressure. sugar etc.

Some of the rich 'new money' people took their patients to the private hospitals. Some died there even after spending millions of rupees.

They became a scandalous news. Because kidney racket is a big business in Nepal. I had read in the past in the news papers, kidneys from Nepal reached up to Canada via India!

Robert Sacchi (author) on January 12, 2021:

Thank you for reading and commenting. Thankfully the recovery rate is improving. They've distributed over 25 million doses of the vaccine so far. In Nepal the numbers look good. There is a 0.7% mortality rte.

gyanendra mocktan from Kathmandu,Nepal on January 11, 2021:

It is sad to read through your article. News papers and tv also talk about covid-19. The news is from around the world.

One of my fb friends U.S. dad from U.S. is recovering from it.

May God save humanity.

Robert Sacchi (author) on January 11, 2021:

Thank you for reading and commenting. I see Canada had a big spike on the 3rd. It could have been case of under reporting on the 2nd. There seems to be a pattern in Canada of a low count one day and a spike the next. On the 10th there were 7,283 cases.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on January 11, 2021:

We are also watching the new models closely here in Canada as we don't want to have our health facilities overrun with cases. We hope for the best.

Robert Sacchi (author) on January 09, 2021:

Thank you all for reading and commenting.

Chitrangada Sharan - Thanks for sharing the situation in India. I hoped there would be on the ground information for people in different places.

Nithya Venkat - They seem to be producing vaccine at a pace.

Miebakagh Fiberesima - Unfortunately, we'll probably be dealing with the coronavirus for a long time.

Peggy Woods - They're talking late spring in the states, if all goes well.

MG Singh emge - Any idea why the mortality rate is so low in Singapore?

MG Singh emge from Singapore on January 09, 2021:

The pandemic will be controlled I have no doubt about it, after all, mankind faced many pandemics before. All we have to do is to keep our guard up and of course, I do feel don't rely too much on the vaccine.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on January 09, 2021:

Tracking of numbers often lags behind and the accuracy of the numbers might vary a bit from place to place. What really matters is that we all do our best to avoid catching this virus and hope that the vaccine rollouts become more efficient so that we can get this pandemic under control.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on January 09, 2021:

Robert, this article covid19 is a research tool that will certainly found you online. Like most virus as MEDS, it is being control and contained. Now that as late December 2020 the vaccines are being made available, covid-19 can be eredicate out of mankind community. Informative and educative article. Much thanks.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on January 09, 2021:

An informative article about how this pandemic has affected us in numbers. A grim reality, I hope the vaccine helps to protect and get rid of COVID -19.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on January 09, 2021:


Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on January 08, 2021:

A well written and informative article. We have been seeing these reports in the newspapers and websites.

In India, there is a consistent decline in active cases, and a constant increase in recovery cases, as much as ninety six percent. The safety guidelines are still being followed by most of the people. Hopefully, things will improve further.

Hoping and praying for everyone around the World to be free of Covid19 soooner. Thank you for sharing this well researched article.

Robert Sacchi (author) on January 08, 2021:

Thank you for reading and commenting. I do find it odd how many times countries report 10 deaths on a single day. The dip in the mortality rate is worldwide. there is also no apparent consistency between which countries have high or low mortality rates. The Dominican Republic has the same mortality rate as Japan 1.4%. Libya has a better mortality rate, 1.49%, than Korea, 1.52%. I put a graphic of the U.S. mortality rates by state. Another factor to look at is the age of the population. A larger elderly population should have a higher mortality rate than a younger population, all else being equal. I wish the CDC & company would be more forthcoming with analysis. They could spend less time repeating the same advice and giving annoying suggestions in favor of more detailed information.

FlourishAnyway from USA on January 08, 2021:

I’m glad that I could catch this to leave a comment. I think there’s a lot of data integrity issues involved—not detecting, fear of reporting, consistency of data tracking, etc. Still, it does show that it’s perhaps not as deadly as we initially feared (maybe because we learned how to halt the most devastating effects on all but the weakest ... in most cases). I hope it’s under control sooner rather than later!

Robert Sacchi (author) on January 08, 2021:

Thank you both for reading and commenting. I'm glad you found the article well written. That means a lot to me.

Pamela Oglesby - The mortality rate is of those who actually been diagnosed with COVID-19 so preventive measures wouldn't be part of the equation. Deaths per capita could have something to do with masks and distancing. A significant factor in the overall mortality rate is when COVID-19 reached a country. The indicators are COVID-19 mutated into a less dangerous form.

Liz Westwood - There is a lot of lockdown fatigue. Many countries went from flatten the curve to until we have a vaccine. Now it's until enough people get the vaccine. Anther thing is economies are being killed. By the way New York city is quarantining people who come in from the UK. They are sending deputies to check to make sure people are adhering to the quarantine rules. A person found absent from where they are supposed to be get a $1,000 fine. New York is a good place to avoid.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on January 08, 2021:

This is a well-written and well-documented article about this awful virus, Robert. I know everyone will be glad when it is gone. I wonder why some coutry has such low mortality rates. I know many people have not followed the distancing and mask guidelines, so maybe that has a lot to do with those rates of death.

Liz Westwood from UK on January 08, 2021:

A well-written article that makes for grim reading. The UK went into lockdown again this week in a desperate bid to slow the spread of a new variant of the virus. Early indications suggest that people are not taking this lockdown as seriously as they did the first in March last year. Today COVID- related deaths hit a record of over 1300. Sadly figures are set to rise in the short term despite the roll out of vaccines.