Belgium’s been an afterthought throughout most of this crisis. News cycles moved from China to Iran to Italy, but after they got to Spain, they were shut out by conditions in New York City.
Well, let’s spare a thought for Belgium.
In no country in the world is there a higher probability that a person has lost a loved one than Belgium; their mortality per capita is highest in the world, among nations reporting greater than 2000 cases. (Reporting is emphasized, of course, because reporting can be spotty in developing, rural nations.)’
More broadly, this chart has a grim message to Americans, that being “there are countries worse off than us. A lot of them.” The larger the box, the more your hospital systems were overwhelmed, and the greater the likelihood that people were left to die in the halls of hospitals, triaged because of limited resources.
There’s also a message here to those determined to make this a political football. Make a list of nations with larger boxes than the US. See any correlation between conservative and liberal governance, universal vs private care, socialized system vs not socialized?
No, you don’t. COVID19 is an equal opportunity murderer. It doesn’t care that you are liberal or conservative, whether you have single payer health care or not, or even if your country has universal care. (Which is, largely, why we haven’t been besieged by articles from the chattering class claiming that the pandemic proves that the US needs to change it’s health care “system”. The data gives them no basis for the claim.)
Get a load of this:
So….there you go. Now, these mortality rates will recede over time in some nations due to testing in places other than ERs, but this does provide a snapshot of how difficult this has been to-date.
Where does this leave us? Well, we’re all groundhogs right now. Data does indicate that it’s ok to stick our heads outside our burrows and see if we see our shadows or not.
But if we do, we need to be prepared to retreat to our burrows and extend our naps a bit longer. Time will tell.