Based on a comparison of coronavirus deaths in 206 countries relative to their population, Peru had the most losses to COVID-19 up until September 30, 2021. As of the same date, the virus had infected over 232.7 million people worldwide, and the number of deaths had totaled more than 4.7 million. Note, however, that COVID-19 test rates can vary per country. Additionally, big differences show up between countries when combining the number of deaths against confirmed COVID-19 cases. The source seemingly does not differentiate between “the Wuhan strain” (2019-nCOV) of COVID-19, “the Kent mutation” (B.1.1.7) that appeared in the UK in late 2020 or the 2021 Delta variant (B.1.617.2) from India.

The difficulties of death figures

This table aims to provide a complete picture on the topic, but it very much relies on data that has become more difficult to compare. As the coronavirus pandemic developed across the world, countries already used different methods to count fatalities, and they sometimes changed them during the course of the pandemic. On April 16, for example, the Chinese city of Wuhan added a 50 percent increase in their death figures to account for community deaths. These deaths occurred outside of hospitals and went unaccounted for so far. The state of New York did something similar two days before, revising their figures with 3,700 new deaths as they started to include “assumed” coronavirus victims. The United Kingdom started counting deaths in care homes and private households on April 29, adjusting their number with about 5,000 new deaths (which were corrected lowered again by the same amount on August 18). This makes an already difficult comparison even more difficult. Belgium, for example, counts suspected coronavirus deaths in their figures, whereas other countries have not done that (yet). This means two things. First, it could have a big impact on both current as well as future figures. On April 16 already, UK health experts stated that if their numbers were corrected for community deaths like in Wuhan, the UK number would change from 205 to “above 300”. This is exactly what happened two weeks later. Second, it is difficult to pinpoint exactly which countries already have “revised” numbers (like Belgium, Wuhan or New York) and which ones do not. One work-around could be to look at (freely accessible) timelines that track the reported daily increase of deaths in certain countries. Several of these are available on our platform, such as for BelgiumItaly and Sweden. A sudden large increase might be an indicator that the domestic sources changed their methodology.

Where are these numbers coming from?

The numbers shown here were collected by Johns Hopkins University, a source that manually checks the data with domestic health authorities. For the majority of countries, this is from national authorities. In some cases, like China, the United States, Canada or Australia, city reports or other various state authorities were consulted. In this statistic, these separately reported numbers were put together. For more information or other freely accessible content, please visit our dedicated Facts and Figures page.


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