Complacency Kills: Eye off the Prize

Although the US has the highest number of COVID deaths there are often some very uneven comparisons. Like comparing the US to Spain, or Italy. The fact is the US is 5 times bigger than those countries so we would expect our numbers to be higher.

We can make a more even comparison by comparing the numbers in aggregate for a group of European countries – such as UK; Italy; France; Spain and Germany. Taken together these have a population of 345 million – almost in line with the US at 326m.

Here’s what we see on the fatalities. The measurement here is from the date of the 100th death. This allows us to compare each measurement at an equiavlent point of time – since we know that Italy and Spain started COVID earlier than in the US.

US deserves a lot of credit for avoiding the peak that Europe experienced. The US did flatten the curve. However starting in May – European countries started to reduce average daily deaths faster than the US.

By this current point – the US is running at a daily average number of deaths approximately 3x that of the European counties I mentioned earlier.


We can really see the driver for this in cases. Although the US is testing more than ever (over 400,000 tests per day) – the surge in cases can’t be explained simply by more testing. The fact that US deaths remain higher and are not flattening as quickly reinforces the fact more needed to be done.

US cases bottomed out at about 20,000 per day on average. Unfortunately they are now on the upswing again – driven by the surge in cases in the South.

The media images of people not practicing social distancing and not wearing face masks demonstrate that complaceny is at large. We need to be more vigilant at this point. The early US lead, effective at avoiding the peak of fatalities, has been squandered. While the US states hit hardest by the virus initially have kept their focus – many others are learning the lesson the hard way.

What happened to Test, Trace, Isolate – and the apps that can help us understand if we have been in proximity to someone who tested positive?

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