No, the U.S. is Not #1 In Coronavirus Cases
It’s amusing to see the media lying with statistics, especially when they’re criticized President Trump for presenting them exactly the way they are now.
When President Donald Trump began claiming that the U.S. led the world in coronavirus testing, liberal pundits were quick to point out that you’d have to adjust for population to make such a claim. Fair enough. President Trump did clarify at least once that he was talking about total tests, not per-capita when later making the claim.
Yet now the same people in the media who criticized Trump for not measuring tests on a per-capita basis are talking about total coronavirus cases and deaths on an absolute basis in an attempt to attack Trump. Here’s one such recent example from MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, who said that we have both the highest number of cases and the most new cases per day (and bear in mind that the data point for China is fictitious):
We're the pink line at the top there.
We don't just have the highest number of cases in total, we have the highest number of *new* cases each day, by far.
— Rachel Maddow MSNBC (@maddow) April 8, 2020
So how do we compare on a per-capita basis?
I had initially planned on comparing the rates of cases and deaths per million among the top twenty countries with the most reported cases, but China’s data is too unreliable to include them in this analysis. With China excluded, among the top nineteen most infected countries, the U.S. ranks ninth in terms of cases per million, and tenth in deaths per capita. Spain and Italy are suffering nearly six times as many deaths per-capita as the U.S., Belgium over four times as many, and France more than triple ours.
So no, the U.S. is not number one in coronavirus cases when properly measured – but it is fair to wonder why pundits seem to wish that we were.