The UK is country with the seventh worst figures in deaths per million attributed to Covid-19. As of 18th December the number is 66,541 which is 978 per million of the country’s population. The UK has done slightly worse than the US, which has reported 320,182 Covid-19 deaths or 965 deaths per million. This is particularly remarkable as all Covid-19 deaths in the US are routinely blamed on Donald Trump.
But it is not the comparison with the US or France, Italy or Belgium, all in the top 10 of countries worse afflicted with the virus, that is most interesting it is the comparison with countries like Ethiopia which, with a population of over 116 million has reported a total of only 1,843 Covid-19 deaths, 16 per million of population. It would not be unfair to say that Ethiopia seems not to have experienced a ‘pandemic’ at all.
If Ethiopia were a solitary outlier it would make sense to look at Ethiopia and ask what factors caused it to be so little affected by Covid-19. But Ethiopia is of course not the only country to be much less affected than the UK. There is a huge difference between Finland’s reported 88 deaths per million and the UK’s 978 deaths per million.
A lot of energy and of course money has gone into creating vaccines to protect people against the virus but very little effort seems to have been put into examining factors that might account to huge disparities between nations in the impacts on them of the coronavirus.
Why does China with a population of over 1 billion people, and where the Covid-19 infection reportedly originated, record only 4364 deaths or 3 per million of population? Why does Congo, one of the poorest nations on the planet report only 100 deaths, 18 per million?
What about Madagascar, Malawi and Malaysia with 9, 10 and 13 deaths per million?
The success of New Zealand in keeping numbers very low has been celebrated. Less so (well not at all) the successes of Nicaragua, Niger and Nigeria. Why? Is it supposed that nothing can be learned from these countries?
Here are a few more countries. The figures show that Tanzania and Thailand, with populations numerically similiar to the UK’s, have hardly been touched by the pandemic.
A world map showing the occurence of Covid-19 cases lines up somewhat with the map of temperature zones.
Countries in the tropical zones have much fewer recorded cases of Covid-19 in some cases the figures can be called negligible.
However Brazil with high Covid mortality in a tropical zone and China with low Covid mortality in a temperate zone are very big exceptions to this observation.
What can we make of these observations? I’m not qualified to make much of them but I think it would be useful for people who are qualified to look at the differences between countries. I think that if it is the case that tropical zone countries are vastly less vulnerable to Covid-19 infection and mortality they should not model their responses to Covid-19 on the responses of temperate zone countries; they do not need to trash their economies and should perhaps seek to benefit economically from their lesser vulnerability. Also, if there are factors apart from climate that contribute to the lesser vulnerability of Madagascar, Malawi and Malaysia then though factorts should surely be identified in only to increase our understanding of the virus and to better inform our dialogue.