Many countries devastated by the coronavirus in early stages of the pandemic now have it under control. These include Israel, Denmark, Finland and Australia.
Europe and the Americas – North, South and Central – were the worst-hit regions in the early months. Today, South America remains the world’s epicenter. As feared, poor African countries spared at the outset are now being badly impacted.
These are the key revelations from examination of the rates of death over the last two months – June and July this year – more than a year after the pandemic’s initial spread.
These findings confirm the effectiveness of vaccinations, notably from tracking Israel, North America and Western Europe. They also support quarantining, social distancing and other preventative measures, as demonstrated in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore.
Of the 116 countries classified by the UNDP as highly developed, only nine averted fatalities over the last two months. These included New Zealand, China, Brunei and Iceland. Next ranked, with deaths below one per million population, were Singapore, Australia, Mauritius and Hong Kong. Nine nations kept deaths between one and ten per million in the last two months, including South Korea, Norway, Finland, Denmark and Israel.
Switzerland has turned around an appalling situation, having lost 4,525 citizens last December and January – at 520 per million – to just 96 in June and July – at 11 deaths per million. Denmark and Israel have similarly impressive records.
The United States has advanced significantly from having one of the highest rates of death per million in the early stages to middle-ranking today. The USA lost 19,548 victims in June and July at 58.7 per million. That ranked 73rd in the 116 developed countries. This is still weak for the richest country on earth, but vastly better than when the death rate was 550 per million for two months earlier this year.
Canada has also turned around its fortunes with just 1,051 deaths in the last two months, at 27.6 per million. That’s down from 7,902 deaths last December and January, at 208 per million.
Other nations whose responses have substantially slowed the rate of fatalities are the Czech Republic, Hungary, Belgium, Sweden and the United Kingdom. In fact, most of Europe has reduced death rates dramatically. Exceptions are Greece, Cyprus, Russia and some of its immediate neighbors.
Rich countries going backwards
Perhaps the most astonishing experience is Taiwan, which appeared to have found the formula for success earliest in the world. It seems now this might have been sheer luck. Taiwan experienced its first death in February 2020, but by year’s end had only recorded seven fatalities – impressive for a country of nearly 24 million. That superb record continued through to mid-May this year, by which time only 12 deaths had occurred. By the end of June, however, the tragic tally was 648 and as this is published up to 791.
The bottom 14 countries on the ranking of developed countries comprise ten nations in Central and South America. Worst hit are Paraguay with 802 deaths per million in the last two months, then Colombia, Ecuador and Argentina, each with more than 600 deaths per million.
Africa hit later but harder
Most African countries did not cop the pandemic until much later than Western nations. It has arrived now with a vengeance. Here, of course, we are looking at the world table rather than the developed nations.
On this ranking of 216 countries Namibia is at the bottom with 2,214 fatalities in the last two months, at 855 per million. Other African countries badly hit are Tunisia, Suriname, Botswana and South Africa.
Vaccines are effective
This data confirms the early roll-out of vaccinations has stemmed death rates. In the European Union 61 per cent have received their first jab, with 51 percent fully vaccinated. See chart at the top.
Major nations with the highest double vaccination rates are, in order, Malta, Iceland, the UAE and Uruguay – all above 65 per cent. Death rates have tumbled in these countries.
Not surprisingly, the poor African countries have the lowest vaccination rates, with no mainland continent state having fully vaccinated ten per cent of the population. As this is written, only 1.88 per cent of Africans have been fully vaccinated, with another 1.91 per cent partly protected.
The message from this analysis is largely encouraging. But the challenge remains enormous across most of the world.
“Alan Austin is a great Australian journalist and,
I think, a pirate. I steal Alan Austin’s findings all the time.”
~ Jordan Shanks
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