The number acts as a symbol. This February 22, the United States recorded a 500,000th official death from covid-19. “More Americans have died during this pandemic than in World War I, World War II and the Vietnam War combined,” President Joe Biden said on Monday at a tribute ceremony . This report, in one year of the pandemic, reminds us of the global health issue represented by the coronavirus which causes it. At this point, 2.47 million people are counted as victims of covid-19 across the world.
Nearly 2.5 million dead
This figure, updated daily since January 2020 by Johns-Hopkins University, is based on several counts made locally or nationally in each country. Like any statistic, it is an indicator: some countries do not precisely keep the results of the epidemic in the population up to date; others do not make this count subject to the same criteria. The results are no less striking.
Three in ten deaths in Europe
More than a year after the identification of the virus in Asia, it is Europe which has continued, for several months, to be the most bereaved continent in terms of number of victims. With a little less than 800,000 victims, three deaths out of ten were recorded in this territory. At issue: the violent epidemic resumption observed since November in many European countries.
Since that date, daily deaths remain the most numerous on the continent, with more than 3,600 deaths each day on average over the last week, against just under 3,000 in North America.
These gross results are sometimes difficult to put into perspective: the number of deaths depends in particular on the number of inhabitants of an area. Despite everything, by comparing this distribution of deaths with the population of each continent, we see that the share of deaths from covid-19 is greater than the weight of these territories in terms of number of inhabitants.
Nationally, the United States has the heaviest death toll, in gross deaths, followed by Brazil and Mexico. In Europe, it is the United Kingdom which accumulates the most disastrous toll, with more than 120,000 deaths, ahead of Italy and France.
Very heavy assessments reported to the population
Of course, these countries are among the most populous on the planet, so it is a question of taking a step back on the figures. Despite everything, reported to the population, this toll remains very heavy. It represents 151 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants in the United States, while the highest ratio in countries with more than 500,000 inhabitants corresponds to that of Belgium, with 190 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants.
“We have not seen anything like this for over 100 years, since the 1918 pandemic”
The method of counting deaths in the country explains in part. In general, however, many European countries have a significant death toll relative to their population. Among the ten most important ratios, all are European with the exception of the United States. France, with 130 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants, is the 18th country with the highest number of deaths in relation to its population.
These figures, as imperfect and underestimated as they are, are a reminder of how violently this pandemic is hitting the whole planet. “We have not known anything like this for over 100 years, since the 1918 pandemic,” immunologist Anthony Fauci stressed on Monday. The comment applied to the United States but summarizes the global situation.
At a time of these disastrous accounts which are constantly renewed, vaccination, which begins in many countries and shows real positive effects, raises hope in the fight against the epidemic. The United States could also have a third authorized vaccine by the end of the week, that of Johnson & Johnson, on which a committee is due to issue an advisory opinion on Friday.
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