[News Focus] European nations sweep top 10 in infection rate

By Kim Yon-se

Looking at COVID-19 cases per 10,000 people, US is 11th, Korea 26th

  • Published : Apr 7, 2020 - 11:27
  • Updated : Apr 7, 2020 - 15:41

A teacher at an elementary school in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province, lays new textbooks on desks for students on March 17, three weeks before offline classes were to start. But classes are postponed indefinitely amid the ongoing spread of COVID-19. Instead, online classes are to start later this month. (Yonhap)

SEJONG -- Though the US has the highest number of confirmed cases of COVID-19, 10 European countries have been hit harder in terms of the number of infected people relative to the population.

The Korea Herald compared 50 countries around the globe where the number of novel coronavirus infections exceeded 1,400 as of 11 p.m. April 6 (South Korean time). The paper’s calculations were based on epidemiological data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Ten of the 50 countries had more than 10 COVID-19 patients per 10,000 registered residents on a cumulative basis: Luxembourg, Iceland, Spain, Switzerland, Italy, Belgium, France, Austria, Germany and Portugal.

Luxembourg topped the list, with about 45 per 10,000 inhabitants infected or 2,804 cases in a population of 620,000.

Iceland ranked second with 43 per 10,000. Its population, 340,000, is almost the same as that of Sejong City -- the smallest region among the 17 major cities and provinces in Korea. While Sejong has reported 46 COVID-19 infections (or 1 per 10,000 people), Iceland has 1,486.
(Graphic by Kim Sun-young/The Korea Herald)

Spain was third with 28 patients per 10,000 people, trailed by Switzerland with 24 and Italy with 21. Switzerland, whose population is less than 9 million, posted 21,100 confirmed cases.

Belgium ranked sixth with 19,691 confirmed cases in a population of 11.58 million, which translates to 17 per 10,000. France had 14 per 10,000 with 92,839 cases in a population of 65.27 million. Austria had 13 per 10,000, or 12,051 cases in a population of 9 million. Germany and Portugal tied for ninth place with about 11 cases per 10,000 people.

The US posted 10 cases per 10,000 people, or 336,851 in a population of 331 million. That figure, which translates to 0.1 percent of the population, placed the US at No. 11, tied with Ireland, Norway and the Netherlands.

Israel stood at No. 15 on the list with 8,611 infections in a population of 8.65 million, or 9 per 10,000, followed by the UK and Denmark with 7.

Sweden ranked 18th with 6,830 cases in a population of 10.09 million -- 6 per 10,000 or 0.06 percent of the population. Iran also posted 6 per 10,000, while Qatar was included in the top 20 countries with 5 (0.05 percent).

Four infections per 10,000 people were seen in Canada, Panama and the Czech Republic, and 3 in Finland and Turkey.
A COVID-19 testing booth is seen in front of the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries at Government Complex Sejong on April 6. Civil servants from the ministry make up a dominant portion of all cases reported in the administrative city. (The Korea Herald)

South Korea stood at No. 26 with 2 per 10,000 -- tied with Australia, Chile, Ecuador, Serbia and Romania. With 10,284 patients in a population of 51.84 million, Korea was also one of the 17 countries where the number of COVID-19 patients tallied 10,000 or more as of April 6. Its administration has been the target of criticism from a large portion of its citizens for two months now, for allowing inbound travelers to enter the country from most parts of China and from other countries.

Greece was 32nd with 1 per 10,000 people, tied with Malaysia, the Dominican Republic, Poland and the United Arab Emirates. Saudi Arabia and Peru posted 0.7 and 0.6, respectively.

China, where the novel coronavirus is believed to have originated, posted 0.5 per 10,000 or 81,708 cases in a population of 1.43 billion -- though it had the greatest number of infections throughout February, when South Korea stood at No. 2. The figure of 0.5 was also seen in Brazil, which has the world’s sixth-largest population and its fifth-largest land mass.

Japan’s figure was 0.3 (or 3,874 in a population of 126 million). The same figure for infections per 10,000 was posted in Russia, Argentina, Thailand and the Philippines.

Other countries on the list included South Africa with 0.2, Pakistan and Mexico with 0.1, and Indonesia with 0.08. India was at the bottom (No. 50) with 0.03 per 10,000, or 4,314 cases in a population of 1.38 billion.

The demographic data-reflected rankings might change if other countries beyond the 50 were included.

Likewise, the global population data could differ as The Korea Herald’s calculations are based on data from the United Nations as of 2020.

By Kim Yon-se (