News and Commentary

When Adjusted For Population, U.S. Currently Trails At Least Six Other Nations In Number Of Coronavirus Cases, Report Says
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On Thursday, many news reports trumpeted that the United States had become the nation with the most reported cases of the coronavirus, but they ignored an essential fact; among major countries which one can assume are offering valid statistics, when adjusted for population, the United States trails many other countries in the number of cases.

It is true that the United States may be behind many other nations as to when the coronavirus took hold. As Philip Klein of the Washington Examiner notes, “Furthermore, not all countries have the same metrics for reporting cases, nor do they all test at the same rate or administer tests with the same reliability.” And nations such as China and Iran are not known for their transparency.

Using the raw case counts from the Johns Hopkins University database for the top 10 countries on Thursday, Klein explained, “So, for instance, on a raw basis, there are 83,507 reported cases of the coronavirus in the U.S., compared with 80,589 in Italy. But the U.S. has about 5.5 times the population of Italy. If Italy were scaled up to the U.S. population, it would have the equivalent of 443,237 cases.”

The statistics for 10 nations, (including Iran and China, which may be far from accurate) read like this, according to Klein:

Switzerland: 457,683

Italy: 443,239

Spain: 405,731

Germany: 174,693

France: 147,030

Iran: 118,341

United States: 83,507

United Kingdom: 59,045

South Korea: 58,644

China: 19,882

The New York Times reported on Thursday that Agata Gostynska-Jakubowska of the Center for European Reform in Brussels insisted the problems in Europe from the coronavirus were exacerbated by a lack of coordination among member countries of the European union, stating, “We need to be pretty honest and say that the initial E.U. response was chaotic and belated,” that after the problems with the coronavirus  developed in Italy, “member states took center stage while the commission and other E.U. institutions were rather absent, and the harm was done, playing into the hands of Euroskeptics.’’

Daniela Schwarzer, director of the German Council on Foreign Relations in Berlin, echoed, “There is still a huge risk to the union. All the disintegrative tendencies can accelerate.’’

An advisor to French president Emmanuel Macron sniped at the United States, “Mistakes were made for sure, there was some flip-flopping, hesitations, but that’s the case everywhere in the world. When we see what’s going on in the United States today, Europe is not the continent that’s the least organized.”

Although the European Union wants its member nations to help each other, it has also restricted travel from other nations into its area; as The New York Times reported last week:

The European Union banned nonessential travel from outside the bloc into 26 nations stretching from Portugal to Finland, home to more than 400 million people, for 30 days, as Europe’s leaders grudgingly, belatedly accepted that being at the heart of a global pandemic and trying to fight it will mean severe social and economic hardship.

British Prime Minister acknowledged this week, “The numbers are very stark, and they are accelerating. We are only a matter of weeks — two or three — behind Italy.”