The U.S. was first to reach the grim 200,000 coronavirus deaths milestone marker this week, according to Johns Hopkins University researchers.
In additional updated statistics on the university's Coronavirus Resource Center website's Critical Trends section, researchers also noted the country’s observed case-fatality rate ranked 11th worldwide among the 20 countries currently most affected, with Mexico accounting for the highest rate at 10.5 percent.
By comparison, the U.S. has a 2.9% rate, falling behind other countries including France, Spain, Romania, Colombia and Brazil.
The observed case-fatality ratio figures measure the number of deaths per 100 confirmed cases. The researchers noted that countries with more testing and more instances of mild cases may have a lower case-fatality ratio than others, and that factors such as older populations and health care systems may impact the results.
Another Johns Hopkins figure, which calculates death per 100,000 population, factored in both confirmed cases and healthy people. For this statistic, the U.S. ranked sixth, with 61.37 deaths per 100,000 population. The country with the highest rate, according to the researchers, is Peru, which has 98.06 deaths per 100,000.
“Countries at the top of this figure have the most deaths proportionally to their COVID-19 cases or population, not necessarily the most deaths overall,” the researchers wrote.
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As of Wednesday afternoon, the U.S. had tallied 201,459 deaths, while globally the number had reached 973,176. The U.S., with a population of around 330 million, also leads the world in the number of reported cases with nearly 7 million, followed by India’s 5.6 million cases and Brazil’s 4.5 million. Russia has the fourth-highest number of cases with just over 1.1 million reported.
The analysis comes as the world waits for news of a coronavirus vaccine earning approval and on the day that Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, as well as Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Robert Redfield, testified at a Senate Health Education, Labor & Pensions Committee hearing.
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“We predict that sometime by the end of this year, let’s say November or December, we will know whether or not these are safe and effective,” Fauci said.
Meanwhile, Redfield spoke of a CDC-led large-scale antibody testing effort currently underway that suggests most Americans have not yet been infected by COVID-19, and remain at risk.
“In order to understand the proportion of the population that’s been infected with COVID-19, and what proportion remains at risk, CDC is currently performing large-scale serology testing across the United States,” Redfield said.
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He said the agency hopes to post analysis from the first round of study in the next several weeks.