Covid-19: The death toll

One year ago, on the 9th of January, the first Corona death was recorded. Now the vaccination programs started, but the number of daily infected people and the number of deaths are still rising. Slowly we are getting towards a million confirmed infections per day. And we almost reach 2 million deaths worldwide. But what that means on a world scale? It turns out, actually a lot.

Global numbers on 10 Jan 2021

Big numbers

There are 7.825 billion people on earth. At this rate, it takes 15,650 days for everyone to be infected. Around 43 years.

Actually this year the world population grown by 70 million people. So far, the world population have grown more than have been confirmed to be infected with Corona. Until now there are 53 million confirmed cases. That’s 17 million people less. The whole size of country like the Netherlands.

These big numbers are hard to comprehend. And we may end up with the wrong conclusion. Does the Corona crisis not have much impact for the world. For example as the Spanish flu once did. This infected 500 million people — about a third of the world’s population at the time — in four successive waves. Today this would be almost 2 billion people.

The death toll of the Spanish flu is typically estimated to have been somewhere between 17 million and 50 million. That is a big range. Are we are talking here about death in the size of the Netherlands (17 million people) or South Korea (51 million people)? That’s a big difference.

The data today is probably a lot more precise. Nevertheless, we must point out that the number of confirmed deaths often differs considerably from the excess mortality of a country.

In November 2020 the confirmed deaths (fatal cases) are 1.3 million. This is a lot of course with many tragedies and loses for families. But how much is this comparing to the planet-size. Also considered that in a country like China, it hardly prevails.

Let’s look at latest available numbers from 2017

We can see here that cardiovascular diseases and cancers take normally the most deaths per year. Interestingly natural disasters and terrorism are the lowest. Interesting, because they get the most attention in the media. Even fire (5 times as many deaths as terrorism) and drowning (12 times as many deaths than terrorism).

Passing other causes of death

Corona already ranks top 5 in the list of worldwide death toll. Thus, not only by a single tragedy, but also on a world-scale the pandemic has a big toll. When looking to OurWorldInData or Covid-19 Timeline at the fatal cases by date we can see:

11–01–2020 China reports the first Covid-19 related death

19–03–2020 Death toll 10.030 (Corona deaths passes deaths by natural disasters)

27–03–2020 Death toll 26.909 (Corona deaths passes deaths by terrorism)

14–04–2020 Death toll 125.678 (Corona deaths passes deaths by fire)

23–04–2020 Death toll 184.934 (Corona deaths passes deaths by alcohol use)

01–05–2020 Death toll 235.290 (Corona deaths passes deaths by malnutrition)

23–05–2020 Death toll 340.477 (Corona deaths passes deaths by Parkinson)

08–06–2020 Death toll 405.168 (Corona deaths passes deaths by homicide)

23–07–2020 Death toll 631.680 (Corona deaths passes deaths by malaria)

21–08–2020 Death toll 796.095 (Corona deaths passes deaths by suicide)

20–09–2020 Death toll 958.314 (Corona deaths passes deaths by HIV/AIDS)

07–11–2020 Death toll 1.248.150 (Corona deaths passes deaths by Road injuries)

15–11–2020 Death toll 1.320.000 (Corona deaths passes deaths by Liver diseases)

21–11–2020 Death toll 1.378.411 (Corona deaths passes deaths by Diabetes)

10–12–2020 Death toll 1.580.006 (Corona deaths passes deaths by Diarrheal diseases)

29–12–2020 Death toll 1.786.057 (Corona deaths passes deaths by Neonatal diseases)

Final note

It’s not improbable that when the number of excess mortality are calculated that it will even move up in the top 3 causes for deaths in 2020.



Blogs on Tech & Society.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store