President Donald Trump and his son-in-law recently assessed their performance in our battle against the novel coronavirus. They both lauded their work, claiming great success.
On May 11, The New York Times listed numbers of coronavirus infections and deaths as raw data and per 100,000 population for 177 countries or political jurisdictions around the world. The numbers per 100,000 population enable comparison of one country to another by accounting for the influence of population size. For example, the U.S. has many more citizens than Burkina Faso, so raw numbers would be expected to be much higher than those for Burkina Faso. But on a per 100,000 person basis, data from these two countries can more realistically be compared.
Do these 177 jurisdictions vary in their capacity or willingness to detect and report infections and deaths attributable to the novel coronavirus? Yes, of course they do. But these are the only data we have, so let’s have a look. The list of 177 jurisdictions included the U.S., so in addition to us were 176 others.
Here are two key points: First, 166 of these 176 jurisdictions (94%) reported lower numbers of infections per 100,000 population than did the U.S. Second, 164 of these 176 jurisdictions (93%) reported lower death counts per 100,000 population than did the U.S.
Recall your days as a student. If your academic performance was poorer than 93% to 94% of your classmates, what grade might your teacher have awarded you?
Thomas D. DahmerDurango