On April 18 2020, Tia Barracini published a tweet claiming that the United States accounted for four percent of the world’s population, but 25 percent of its deaths from novel coronavirus or COVID-19:
Why does the US, with 4% of the world's population, have 25% of the deaths from Coronavirus.
It's almost like someone fucked up.
— 𝕋𝕚𝕒 𝔹𝕒𝕣𝕣𝕒𝕔𝕚𝕟𝕚 (@TiaBarracini) April 18, 2020
That tweet had two layers — one involved specific numbers for the population of the United States and its COVID-19 mortality rate, and another was the opinion that the previous statement was due to government mismanagement of the pandemic. We are looking at the numbers.
According to the United States Census, the country’s population was slightly more than 329 million as of April 24 2020, and the world population was roughly 7.6 billion:
Using slightly rounded versions of those figures, we estimated the United States at 4.3 percent of the world’s total population:
Google and the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University (JHU) displayed tallies of the number of infections, recoveries, and deaths from COVID-19, both in and outside the United States. When we checked on April 24 2020, the statistics had been updated less than an hour prior:
At the time we checked, there had been just under 194,000 deaths from COVID-19 globally:
And around 51,209 in the United States:
Back to the calculator. Of 194,000, 51,209 was just over 26 percent:
By contrast, Italy was also hard-hit by the novel coronavirus. Just under 0.8 percent of the world’s population lives in Italy.
As of April 24 2020, more than 25,000 people in Italy had died of COVID-19:
That was about 13 percent of global novel coronavirus deaths, against under one percent of the world’s population:
A claim that the United States had four percent of the world’s population and 25 percent of its coronavirus deaths was largely true when minor rounding was introduced. But the United States wasn’t the only country to experience a large number of deaths, as Italy was just under one percent of the world’s population and had over 13 percent of total deaths.