Every country has different ways of measuring coronavirus cases and deaths per capita. Most care home deaths, for example, have not been added into Spain’s overall statistics – which, like the UK’s, require a positive test result. The latest ONS figures reveal that in the week ending April 17, the week after Easter, around 22,500 deaths were registered in England and Wales, compared with an average of around 10,500 at the same time last year.
Which countries have the most cases and deaths per capita?
Statistics from Johns Hopkins University comprised of data from national authorities of countries across the world suggest that Belgium is the worst-affected country per capita.
Although they have only had 8,016 confirmed deaths from coronavirus, which is tiny compared to Spain’s 25,613, the small European nation has the worst death rate per capita.
Out of a population of 11.42million, Belgium has 701.8 deaths per million people.
Second on the list is Spain, which comes in at 548.18 deaths per million people with a population more than four times the size of Belgium at 46.72million people.
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Next comes Italy, and with a population of 60.43 million has shown 485.1 deaths per million people.
Fourth on the list is the UK, which has had 29,427 deaths from coronavirus. Per million people, the UK has shown 442.58 deaths.
Number five is France, who has shown 380.82 deaths per million people out of a total population of 66.99million.
France has had 25,510 confirmed deaths as a result of COVID-19. In terms of confirmed cases per capita, Spain comes in first place.
Out of 218,011 total confirmed cases of coronavirus, the country has 4,666 deaths per million people.
Second is Ireland, which has recorded 21,772 cases and shown 4,486 confirmed cases per million people.
Third comes Belgium, who took top spot in terms of deaths, but shows 4,401 confirmed cases per million people out of a 50,267 total.
Next comes the United States, who has one of the highest confirmed case toll in the world at 1,180,634, but shows 3,609 cases per million people.
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Why does Belgium have the highest deaths per capita?
For a country as small as Belgium, and one which reports its intensive care unit never being more than 57 percent full, their top spot may come as a surprise to many.
But, according to the authorities in Brussels, the reason is because no other country is as honest and punctual in its data reporting.
Belgian Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes said her government “made the choice of full transparency when communicating deaths linked to COVID-19” even if the end result was “numbers that are sometimes overestimated”.
Only recently did the UK start including care home deaths in the overall figures, but Belgium goes even further.
As well as confirmed cases, Belgium includes suspected coronavirus deaths in its overall toll, while many countries will only count the death if the patient has returned a positive result.
Germany, for example, only counts deaths as linked to coronavirus if there has been a confirmed positive diagnosis.
Care home deaths account for almost half of the deaths announced every day in Belgium, and about 95 percent of deaths were not officially diagnosed with coronavirus.
Virologist Steven Van Gucht has been at the forefront of Belgium’s response, and he often speaks at the country’s daily press briefings.
Mr Van Gucht told Bloomberg: “We often get criticism – oh, you’re making Belgium look bad – we think it’s the opposite. If you want to compare our numbers with a lot of other countries, you basically have to cut them ion half.”
On Friday, Belgium announced that a further 130 people had died from coronavirus in the last 24 hours, taking the total to 7,703 since the pandemic first started.