Kevin Drum Here’s How the US Is Doing on COVID-19

Yesterday I showed you the current COVID-19 death rate in the US compared to similar European countries. The US looked fairly good, down toward the bottom of the pack.

But the US and Europe took different paths to their current levels. In Europe, mortality dropped nearly to zero over the summer. In the US, we never managed to do that. During the entire period from the end of the first wave to the beginning of the second, roughly a thousand people per day were dying. What this means is that if you look at cumulative deaths, the chart gets flipped around:

Now we’re up toward the top of the pack.

The lesson here is that there’s no single answer to “How are we doing?” If you look at cases, we look very high. If you look at deaths, we look fairly low right now but pretty high cumulatively. If you look at positivity rate, we’re fairly low but skyrocketing upward.

And if you just want an overall score without all the caveats? I’d put us maybe a little worse than middle of the pack. We’re not doing as well as superstars like Germany and Denmark, but we’re far from being the worst. Of course, all this might change in a few weeks if we keep going up and Europe starts going down. We’ll have to wait and see.

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