One chart compares coronavirus cases per capita in the hardest-hit countries around the world - Switzerland, Spain, and Italy top the list

Spain coronavirus

  • The US, China, and Italy (in that order) have the highest number of coronavirus cases in the world.
  • But comparing the number of cases per million residents tells a different story about which countries are hardest hit by the pandemic.
  • Switzerland has the highest number of COVID-19 cases per capita - 1,340 cases per million people -followed by Spain and Italy.
  • The number of US coronavirus cases per capita is far lower: about 210 people are infected per million Americans.
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The US, China, and Italy (in that order) have the highest number of coronavirus cases in the world. But an analysis of coronavirus cases per capita - the number of cases per million residents - in various countries reveals a different story.

Switzerland, not China, tops the list of COVID-19 cases per capita, with 1,340 cases per million people. It's followed by Spain, then Italy.

covid 19 cases per capita table

The US, which has the highest number of coronavirus cases in the world - more than 83,000 - is low on the cases per capita list. Only 210 people in the US had been infected per million Americans as of Thursday morning. The US's case total continues to climb quickly, however, and a country's number of cases per capita changes constantly as new cases get reported. That, in turn, depends on how many people get tested.

Nearly 530,000 people in 175 countries have gotten the new coronavirus since December.

This data may illustrate why Italy has been overwhelmed by its outbreak

Italy has the highest number of deaths from the new coronavirus - more than 8,200. On March 21, Italy reported 793 new COVID-19 deaths - the greatest single-day death-toll jump of any country since the start of the coronavirus outbreak in December. (Even at the height of China's epidemic, its highest single-day death toll was 150, on February 23.)

italy coronavirus

The fact that Italy's cases per capita infection rate is so high may explain why its healthcare system has been so overwhelmed, lacking beds, medical resources, and staff for the stream of patients.

Italian doctors have reportedly considered prioritizing younger, healthier patients who have a higher survival rate.

Andy Kiersz contributed reporting for this story.

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