Data | A year after the first COVID-19 death in China, fatalities peak worldwide

A healthcare worker works on a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) test from a positive patient inside a COVID-19 unit at Trinitas Regional Medical Center in Elizabeth, New Jersey, U.S. | File   | Photo Credit: REUTERS

On January 11, 2020, China reported the world's first known COVID-19-related death — a 61-year-old person who was a regular at the Wuhan market. Precisely a year later, on January 12, 2021, the highest number of single-day deaths were recorded worldwide. The U.S. crossed the grim milestone of 4 lakh cumulative deaths on Tuesday and continued to be at the top in terms of daily deaths. However, among regions, Europe topped the charts in daily deaths. Asia, and in particular India, are currently bucking the trend, with the number of deaths falling.

Deaths peak

On Tuesday, January 19, 2021, 17,066 COVID-19 patients died worldwide — the second such day when daily fatalities crossed the 17,000-mark since the pandemic started. Just a week back, on January 12, 17,330 patients died — the most in a day. The graph shows the seven-day rolling average of new COVID-19 deaths around the world.


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Asia, an outlier

The graph shows the seven-day average of daily COVID-19 deaths across continents. With 5,430 fatalities, daily deaths in Europe peaked on Tuesday. On January 12, daily deaths in North America peaked with 4,462 fatalities. Asia is the only region where daily deaths are on a downward trend (Oceania always remained low).


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India, an outlier

The graph shows the sevenday average of daily COVID-19 deaths across the top five countries with the most cumulative deaths. Daily deaths in the U.S. peaked on January 12 with 4,462 fatalities. Daily fatalities in Brazil, Mexico, and the U.K. are on the rise again.


Unaccounted deaths

The graph plots excess deaths (deviation in mortality from the expected level) from March to December 2020 against the % of such deaths not caused by COVID-19. About 3.75 lakh excess deaths occurred in the U.S. in the period. Only 77.5% of them were COVID-19 deaths. So about 22.5% were unaccounted for. In Jakarta and Russia, more than 80% excess deaths were unaccounted for.