The United States has experienced high coronavirus death rates during the pandemic, even when compared to other countries with high Covid-19 mortality, according to a study published Monday in the medical journal JAMA.
Alyssa Bilinski, a PhD candidate at Harvard University, and Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, vice provost of global initiatives and professor at the University of Pennsylvania, compared US coronavirus death rates through September 19 to those of 18 other countries with varying pandemic responses.
They found that after May 10, the US had more deaths per 100,000 people than other high mortality countries included in the comparison.
Bilinski and Emanuel categorized South Korea, Japan and Australia as low mortality countries, with fewer than 5 coronavirus deaths per 100,000 people. If the US had comparable death rates to Australia since the beginning of the pandemic, it would have had 187,661 fewer deaths, the study shows.
Moderate mortality countries, with fewer than 5 to 25 deaths per 100,000 people, included Norway, Finland, Austria, Denmark, Germany, Israel, Switzerland and Canada. Bilinski and Emanuel note that if the US had comparable death rates to Canada since the beginning of the pandemic, it would have had 117,622 fewer deaths.
High mortality countries, with deaths greater than 25 per 100,000 people, included the United States, the Netherlands, France, Sweden, Italy, the United Kingdom, Spain and Belgium. The US was faring better than some high mortality countries, but only in the early stage of the pandemic. The comparison shows that if the US had comparable death rates to France beginning May 10, it would have had 96,763 fewer deaths.
Note on the study’s findings: One limitation of the study included difference in mortality risk among countries. Bilinski and Emanuel suggest that multiple factors may have contributed to US death rates during the pandemic, including weak public health infrastructure and inconsistent pandemic response in the US.