Covidmeter upgrade reveals Belgium as the leader

Growing Covid-19 pandemic hit many countries, its severity is typically measured by number of detected cases and death toll. Since countries differ in population size, we have to take it into account while estimating true impact. Original Covidmeter used total (cumulative) deaths per 1000 people to estimate population impact. We can calculate similar ratio for daily deaths to build a faster indicator. Since numerator is lower we calculate daily deaths per million people. Let’s see what upgraded Covidmeter shows.

Deaths per 1 million population

We use the following rule to compare countries by daily deaths:

  • Calculate daily deaths per 1 million people (deaths_1M) defined as:
    (deaths in country on given day) / (country population size) * (1 million)
  • Take all countries from ECDC data set with more than 10 cumulative Covid-19 deaths and more than 100 detected cases, sort descending by deaths_1M
  • Take top 10 countries from above list and plot results

Above cart shows some unexpected leaders: San Marino, Belgium, Andora . San Marino and Andora have tiny population (less than 100 thousands) compared to over 11 million Belgium. Once we select countries above 1 million people to top 10 results are the following:

Italy received a lot of media coverage, but it makes number 4 in daily deaths ranking for big countries. Belgium was little discussed and its current level of deaths per 1 million people 30 is double Italy maximum. Italy has 60 million population, Belgium 11. It will be interesting to compare Lombardy – Italy northern region with 10 million population hard hit by Covod-19 with Belgium. Unfortunately ECDC data don’t show Italy regions, just country total

Does current Covid-19 daily death rate make Belgium a dangerous country to live in? Experience so far shows not really. Table below shows top 15 countries (more than 10 deaths and more than 100 cases) sorted by deaths_1M. Please note column CumDeaths_1M shows cumulative deaths not daily. Countries actually dangerous to live in like Syria, where civil war is raging, are not in the table…

San Marino33785455391154.48.57
United Kingdom6648899111421715464232.613.54
United States of America32716743473508638910118.95.29
Data as of 2020-04-19

High and low cases mortality countries

High and low cases mortality countries are selected in the following way:

  • More than 20 cumulative deaths and 10000 cumulative cases
  • Sort by cases mortality rate
  • Take top 5 and bottom 5 from above list
  • Add Germany to result

Above chart demonstrates how case detection is skewed towards heavy ones in some countries. Of course Iran who initially reported 2 cases both dead thus 100% cases mortality will be hard to beat.

As of 19.04 24 countries met 20 deaths and 10000 cases criteria, they are listed in table below.

United Kingdom6648899111421715464232.613.54
Iran, Islamic Republic of8180026980868503161.56.22
United States of America32716743473508638910118.95.29
Korea, Republic of51635256106612344.52.19
Russian Federation144478050367933132.20.85
Data as of 2020-04-19

Country insight

Country insight chars share common pattern:

  • All charts use double y axis, left one shows deaths, right cases
  • For deaths we show actual data (dots) ad 1 days moving average (line)
  • For cases we show 7 days moving average only for better clarity
  • Both deaths and cases are per million people figures unless stated otherwise

Lock down imposed on 17th March did not stop daily deaths growth. I believe Belgium is around death_1M peak, we need more data to confirm.

Peak has been reached, averages are pointing down. It would be interesting to see in which parts of Spain Covid-19 cases concentrate, unfortunately ECDC data set dies not contain such an information,

There are huge variations in daily deaths, they can be attributed to data collection inefficiencies. Moving average points down so situation should improve. I have a feeling France is doing badly in COvid-19 epidemic data handling – sorry EM.

For Italy and Spain there is 7 day lag between cases peak and deaths peak.

For Germany cases peaked 2 weeks ago, while daily deaths are still on rise, so 7 days stated above is not a rule.

Actual daily deaths in San Marino are tiny, scaling them to 1 million population applies factor of 30 to both data and errors.

US cases seem to peak.

Russia reports huge number of cases and low cases mortality, situation similar to initial development in Germany.

Poland does not meet 10000 cases threshold as of 19.04 data.

Population mortality

Covid-19 population mortality chart is created in the following way:

  • Calculate cumulative deaths per 1 million people (cumdeaths_1M) defined as:
    (total deaths in country till given date) / (country population size) * 1 million
  • Take countries with population above 1 million
  • Sort by cumdeaths_1M descending
  • Select top 5 from above list

Belgium is a leader in this ranking. Italy once number one moved to 3rd place. Check here how situation changed from 8th Apr. Please note 08.04 chard used per thousand scale, so you need to multiply its y values by 1000.


Covidmeter adds reference to population mortality data. Reference comes from 2 sources:

  • Diamond Princess – population mortality 7 out of 3700 gives 0.002, 2000 per million
  • San Marino population mortality once it exceeded 30 Covid-19 deaths in total

We assume San Marino population due to its size has been almost completely exposed to Covid-19 and mortality data are close to final.

Population mortality is climbing, but figure is still far away from Diamond Princess results which in turn were far from devastating. Unfortunately lock down measures have much more sever impact on economy than Covid-19 on population.

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