The differences in coronavirus infection rates between the USA and Thailand are astounding. Actually, as the virus became epidemic Thailand had reported cases earlier than the USA. However, for reasons not yet clear, the USA is faring worse than Thailand.
In round figures the USA has a population of 330 million, while Thailand has about 65 million. The USA is 5 times as large. As of Sunday, April 19 there are 2733 cases of COVID-19 in Thailand and 726,800 cases in the USA. Instead of 5 times the number of infections in the USA compared to Thailand (5 times 2733 cases would be 13,665 cases in the USA) there are 265 times as many (which is 53 times as many cases if the two countries were the same population). There have been 47 deaths in Thailand but 34,789 deaths in the USA. The US death rate attributed to COVID-19 is 735 times as great as Thailand, or 148 times as many deaths if Thailand and the USA were the same size.
The level of medical competence and availability of healthcare between the USA and Thailand is not really significant. We are both pretty good. The levels of reporting and honesty about the virus could be a factor, but the amount of testing is about the same.
Until analysis becomes dependable the difference between these two countries is a mystery. People guess as to why the virus hit Italy so much harder than Germany, but the facts are still unclear and the disease isn’t over. It is still spreading. Wave two in some countries is starting, and new areas of the world are being affected.
The difficult facts for people to digest are that this virus is more contagious than viruses that have caused epidemics in the last 50 years. It spreads easier, it hides longer in people who spread it without knowing they are spreading it, and we don't have ways to suppress it, yet.
Two medical breakthroughs will need to take place. First, we'll need effective medicines to treat those with the disease. But until a vaccine becomes tested and available to prevent the disease it will continue to spread. It'll spread faster if people begin to refuse to pay attention to medical realities.
Note: Image courtesy of https://www.pharmaceutical-technology.com/
Rev. Dr. Kenneth Dobson posts his weekly reflections on this blog.