At the time of writing (11 July 2020) the USA have almost 3.2 million confirmed cases of coronavirus infections, while Europe has slightly over 1.8 million with the USA passing Europe around 10 May 2020 (two months ago) at around 133 thousand cases. But if you look at deaths then Europe has almost 185 thousand, while the USA have (only) 134 thousand. On 10 May 2020, Europe's death total stood at almost 151 thousand and the USA have not yet caught up. Taken together these numbers seem to imply a much lower case mortality for the USA than for Europe, for which I have not been able to come up with an explanation (other than that the numbers are bad).

Why does there seem to be such a big difference in case mortality between the USA and Europe?

  • 4
    I don't think that Politics is the right place for this question. You may wish to try Medical Sciences, but please be sure to check their rules before posting. – Joe C Jul 11 '20 at 7:52
  • 3
    One point is that the relevant ratio should use the number of resolved cases (either dead or recovered). Since many of the USA cases are quite recent and have not fully run its curse, while most of Europe's cases are "old". Active cases can result in more deaths, resolved cases cannot. And USA has a lot more of active cases than the EU. – SJuan76 Jul 11 '20 at 10:17
  • @JoeC, thanks, I've reasked his question there: medicalsciences.stackexchange.com/questions/24132/… – hkBst Jul 12 '20 at 6:57
  • 2
    Perhaps the Q. should be rephrased in a specifically political way, e.g. "Are the COVID mortality rate differences between the USA and the EU mostly due to important differences in their respective political unions?" – agc Jul 13 '20 at 23:14
  • Did the hospitals get overwhelmed at any point?
    From some reports, that happened in Italy. Once it happens, patients who might have survived elsewhere would have died. It did not generally get that bad in the US.
  • Overcounts and undercounts of deaths.
    I'm suspicious about the comparability of statistics. Belgium counted "suspected" covid deaths who showed symptoms of a respiratory disease. New York supposedly did not count "clear" covid cases who were dead on arrival. What I really believe in are excess mortality statistics for western nations. Note that none beyond those accounted by covid are listed for Belgium in the link while the UK and US are in the five figures.
  • Timing of the peak.
    Physicians learn more about treatments every day. So a country that got hit later had better chances to apply those lessons. According to German news, that's a big part of the difference between Germany and Italy.
  • A quick glance at that list of excess death figures shows more than 50 thousand missing deaths just from the top-most european countries whilethe USA have less than 22 thousand. Thus that only increases the difference that my question is about. I do concur with you that excess mortality is probably the better measure, but it seems harder to get good numbers for this. – hkBst Jul 12 '20 at 7:29

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .