Unexpectedly Intriguing!
28 March 2020

Where is the worst country or region in the world to be in the world during the coronavirus pandemic?

Is the United States, which on 26 March 2020, surpassed the total number of cases reported in China? Is it Italy, which has seen over 9,000 deaths attributed to COVID-19 as of 27 March 2020? Or are both those stats the wrong way to measure the extent to which the health of individuals within given areas have been impacted by the viral infection?

The answer to that last question is yes, because populations of people are not evenly distributed among all the countries and regions of the world. Because of those differences in population sizes, when you compare the raw numbers of cases reported by two different countries that have very different size populations, you might be missing that the smaller number of cases reported by the country with the smaller population might really be indicating that its people's health is being more negatively impacted by the SARS-CoV-2 virus than the country with the larger population.

That's why epidemiologists use standardize metrics to express the degree to which a population within a given area is being impacted by a disease like COVID-19. A very common way to express those figures is by the number of deaths, recovered patients, or confirmed cases per 100,000 of the population. And that's the kind of information we've assembled about the incidence of COVID-19 among the world's major countries and regions in the following dynamic table.

Not only can you page through the table to see the data for 174 countries or regions of interest, you can search it for one in particular, and you can also rank all the data in the table from low-to-high by clicking a column heading for a particular category, or from high-to-low by clicking a column heading a second time.

In ranking the data in the table, you'll find the real answers to the first two questions we asked at the beginning of this article, but you'll also get a sense of how relatively serious the coronavirus pandemic is impacting the population within the countries we identified compared to others.

The data comes from the 2019 Novel Coronavirus COVID-19 (2019-nCoV) Data Repository by Johns Hopkins CSSE, which is limited by the quality of data it surveys from the nations reporting it. As a general rule of thumb, the more authoritarian a nation's leaders are, the less trustworthy are its officially reported coronavirus statistics.

Update 9 June 2020: We are moving away from near-daily updates toward less frequent updates. As always, the table will indicate the date it was last updated!

### Previously on Political Calculations

Image credit: Martin Sanchez

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