Coronavirus infections and deaths – South Africa vs Global numbers

As of 31 March 2020, South Africa had 1,353 confirmed COVID-19 coronavirus cases.

This makes South Africa the African country with the most reported cases.

However, South Africa’s numbers are still relatively small when compared to those in the US, UK, and countries in Asia and Europe.

As of 31 March, the US had over 188,000 reported cases, while Italy had over 100,000 reported cases.

China, despite being the country in which the pandemic originated, had 81,554 reported cases and 76,238 recoveries as of 31 March.

All of these countries have, however, suffered at least 1,000 deaths due to the pandemic.

France, Iran, and the UK have also suffered at least 1,000 deaths due to the COVID-19 coronavirus.


Strange trend in South Africa’s numbers

South Africa has seen a strange trend in its case numbers of late, with the number of daily infections reported by the government steadily decreasing.

This decrease has taken place after the lockdown began, but it is too soon for the lockdown to have decreased the reported numbers so significantly.

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) explained it is actively cleaning COVID-19 patient data to ensure the information is verified and accurate.

“As such, figures may not always add up sequentially due to the activities being performed with regard to data cleaning and quality assurance of the dataset,” it said.


Comparing cases to total population

These numbers aren’t necessarily a fair reflection of which countries are handling the virus well, however, as population size must be taken into account.

A useful metric is total cases per million citizens.

Using these metrics, and removing tiny nations such as Luxembourg and Andorra, Spain is the country that has been proportionally the worst hit – with over 2,000 citizens per million having contracted the virus.

In contrast, South Africa has had 23 citizens per million officially contract the virus.

Deaths per million population is another measurement that shows which countries are being impacted by the virus.

Excluding small countries, the country with the most deaths relative to its population is Italy, which has suffered 206 deaths per million.


Coronavirus – South Africa vs Global

The table below compares South Africa against several countries which have confirmed cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus. The figures were based on confirmed totals available on 31 March 2020.

Coronavirus Statistics
Country Total Cases Total Recovered Total Deaths Deaths per Million Population
South Africa 1,353 31 5 0.08
USA 188,578 7,251 4,055 12
Italy 101,792 15,729 12,428 206
Spain 95,923 19,259 8,464 181
China 81,554 76,238 3,312 2
Germany 71,808 16,100 775 9
Iran 44,605 14,656 2,898 35
France 52,128 9,444 3,523 54
UK 25,150 135 1,789 26
South Korea 9,887 5,567 165 3
Australia 4,860 345 21 0.8
Russia 2,337 121 17 0.1
India 1,590 148 45 0.03
Egypt 710 157 46 0.4
New Zealand 708 83 1 0.2

Now read: Strange trend in new coronavirus cases in South Africa

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Coronavirus infections and deaths – South Africa vs Global numbers