by: Dr. Pashko R. Camaj, Doctor of Public Health Sciences**/
As we know, the coronavirus outbreak began to ravage Europe early in March of this year. About two weeks later, it flared up in the United States (US) overwhelming the northeastern states (New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Massachusetts). At the peakof the infections, in early April, more than 3,000 people in Italy, Spain and the rest of Western European countries were dying each day – a substantially higher toll than in the US at its height. Over the past two months, however, most of Europe has succeeded in controlling the virus.
In the US, the number of new cases climbed above 30,000 per day over the last weekend, after having leveled off at around 20,000 per day for weeks. The new cases in the United States, are about 10 times higher than the roughly 3,000 new cases per day in the European Union.The growing number of cases in US in part reflects the rapid spread of Covid-19 as some states and territories are amid a community spread. In addition, the increase in the number of cases could be rising partially due to increased laboratory testing. Review of the data and trends, despite the rise in the US numbers, shows encouraging news. The table below compares the contiguous US to a 6-country region of Western Europe (6- WE) with a nearly identical populationsize.
|Country/Region||Population size||Number of Tests||Number of Covid-19 Cases||Number of Deaths||Deaths/1 Million People|
|*Belgium||11.5 Mil||1.6 Mil||61,000||10,000||851|
|*France||65 Mil||1.3 Mil||163,000||30,000||443|
|*Germany||83 Mil||5 Mil||200,000||10,000||107|
|*Italy||60 Mil||5.6 Mil||240,000||35,000||573|
|*Spain||46 Mil||5.1 Mil||250,000||28,000||606|
|*UK||67 Mil||8.7 Mil||310,000||43,000||650|
|*6 Western European Countries||332 Mil||27 Mil||1.2 Mil||156,000||538|
|USA||333 Mil||31 Mil||2.5 Mil||128,000||379|
|Country/Region||Case Fatality Rate (CFR)||%Tested by population||% Deaths from total population||% Deaths/1 M people|
|*6 Western European Countries||13%||8%||0.047%||0.058|
Describing the table: The numbers on the table compare US, with its 333 million people to the 6-WE countries (Germany, United Kingdom, France, Italy, Spain, and Belgium) with their 332 million people. While the number of Covid-19 cases in US is double the number of cases in the 6-WE, the first difference is that the US has tested approximately 31 million compared to 6-WE 27 million people tested. The data in the US also show that deaths are not rising along with cases, and in fact are continuing to fall, down to an average of about 600 deaths per day, compared to a peak of more than 2,000 deaths per day in mid-April. The starkest difference is in the “case fatality rate” (CFR) which shows the number of deaths per total number of infected populations. In the US, the CFR is at approximately 5 percent whereas in 6-WE it’s more than double, at about 13 percent. Furthermore, percentage of deaths per total population and per 1 million people, is better in US compared to 6-WE (0.038 and 0.378 in US, compared to 0.047 and 0.057 in 6-WE).
The decline in deaths could be telling us two things: first a reflection of significant improvements in medical care, and second, more diagnosed cases are occurring in people with milder symptoms and disease. The younger and healthier patients have significantly lower CFR, so it appears that the elderlyor individualswith underlying conditions are protecting themselves better.
Concluding, these numbers are showing that while we go through the various stages of opening our societies, we need to be vigilantand double down in communicating across the country, and especially where we are seeing the spikes in numbers, that the virus is still a very potent threat. Encouraging people to continue to wear face coverings, stay at a distance when possible, avoid large unprotected gatherings, continue to use hand sanitizer or wash your hands are time-proven things that we know work and can keep us safe and keep the number of infections under control.
**Vice-President of Pan-Albanian Federation of America -VATRA
References for the data and numbers: