COVID-19 update

This item appears on page 5 of the May 2021 issue.

At press time, active COVID-19 infections had been confirmed in 192 countries and territories, with more than 131.5 million cases and, resulting from those, more than 2.9 million deaths.

On March 29, Mexico revised its count of deaths due to COVID-19, increasing its official number to more than 321,000, 60% higher than the previous estimate. The new number was the second-highest death count in the world, after that of the US.

In late March, even before the numbers were updated, Mexico had the highest confirmed case-fatality rate (the percentage of COVID-infected people who died) in the world, 9.1%. Ecuador topped South America with 5.1%, while, in Africa, it was Sudan at 6.5%. In Europe, Bulgaria and Bosnia & Herzegovina had the highest rates, at 3.9%. In Asia, the numbers in many countries could not be confirmed by the World Health Organization, but among places where they could be, Indonesia had the highest case-fatality rate, at 2.7%. The rate in the US was 1.8%, and the worldwide rate was 2.2%.

As of press time, a sharp increase in cases and hospitalizations in Europe had caused many countries to place regions back on lockdown, including in areas of France, Germany, Poland and Italy. Vaccination rates in continental Europe were also lagging behind those of other areas, as there were not enough vaccines available to meet demand. India and Brazil had also incurred large increases in numbers of new daily cases and hospitalizations.