Countries Where the Most People Have Died From COVID-19

As the COVID-19 pandemic stretches into its third year, the U.S. is approaching a grim milestone – nearly 1 million COVID-19-related deaths. Even as new cases and deaths have dropped to relatively low levels as of May 2022, local and state health officials are still reporting anywhere from dozens to hundreds of fatal COVID-19 cases each day.

The COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. represent just a fraction of the worldwide struggle with the pandemic. Many other countries have reported hundreds of thousands of COVID-19 deaths since 2020.

To determine the countries where the most people have died from COVID-19, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the mortality analyses from the Johns Hopkins University of Medicine Coronavirus Resource Center. Nations were ranked based on the total number of reported COVID-19 deaths through May 11, 2022. Observed case fatality ratios, death rates per 100,000 population, and total case data also came from JHU. Population figures came from the World Bank and are for 2020. 

The countries on this list have observed COVID-19 case fatality ratios – the percentage of deaths out of observed cases – from as low as 0.5% all the way up to 6.0%. This high variance is likely due to discrepancies in testing. Countries with more testing and confirmed cases tend to have lower case fatality ratios, whereas nations in which only the most serious cases receive attention have lower confirmed cases and higher case fatality ratios. The U.S.’s case fatality ratio stands at 1.2%.

Death rates per 100,000 population also vary greatly among countries on this list, from 38 COVID-19 deaths per 100,000 people to 646 deaths per 100,000 people. In the United States, the death rate is 303 per 100,000 people, 18th highest of the 190 countries considered. (These are the states where COVID-19 cases are climbing fastest.)

Gathering this much data from all over the world is a daunting task, and the figures rely on each country’s ability and willingness to test for COVID-19 and investigate deaths, in addition to disclosing the results. Some countries have had a hard time securing tests, while others are likely not revealing their actual data.

China is notably absent from the list. Though the country has well over 1 billion residents, it has admitted to having fewer than 15,000 COVID-19 fatalities. Forbes reported that China’s COVID-19 death rate (deaths per 100,000 population), especially relative to China’s high population, is “plainly implausible” and that its death rates are “much higher than what is published.” 

As of May 2022, COVID-19 infections were trending up slightly from previous months. The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention recommends vaccination as the best protection against the virus. States with a higher share of the population that is vaccinated tend to have lower infection rates than those with lower vaccination rates. These are the states where the most people are vaccinated.

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