Johns Hopkins: Bulgaria has world’s 10th-highest Covid-19 death rate per 100 000 population

Bulgaria has the 10th-highest Covid-19 death rate per 100 000 population in the world, according to figures posted on March 23 by the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

The figures showed Bulgaria as having a Covid-19 death rate of 173.51 per 100 000 population, behind nine other countries in Europe.

In first place was San Marino, at 233.83 per 100 000 population.

That country is followed by the Czech Republic 233.49, Belgium 198.98, Montenegro 194.1, Slovenia 192.32, the United Kingdom 190.12, Hungary 188.88, Bosnia and Herzegovina 178.64, and Italy 174.29.

In 11th place is Bulgaria’s neighbour, the Republic of North Macedonia, at 168.17, followed by Slovakia, 167.14, and the United States, 165.95.

Counted by case-fatality rate – the number of deaths divided by the number of confirmed cases – Bulgaria is the highest in Europe, at four per cent, and in 14th place in the world, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

The report said that countries throughout the world have reported very different case fatality ratios – the number of deaths divided by the number of confirmed cases.

It said that differences in mortality numbers can be caused by:

  • Differences in the number of people tested: With more testing, more people with milder cases are identified. This lowers the case-fatality ratio.
  • Demographics: For example, mortality tends to be higher in older populations.
  • Characteristics of the healthcare system: For example, mortality may rise as hospitals become overwhelmed and have fewer resources.
  • Other factors, many of which remain unknown.

Bulgaria’s national information system daily report on March 23 said that the country’s Covid-19 death toll was 12 188, with 169 more deaths reported in the past 24 hours.

Asked about the Johns Hopkins figures – which some Bulgarian media, apparently looking only at a graph and not the full table interpreted as saying that Bulgaria was first in Covid-19 mortality in Europe and second in the world – Health Minister Kostadin Angelov said that Bulgaria was being compared with countries that did many more tests.

“In our country the tests are significantly less, if they were proportional to the tests of other countries with which we are compared, we would not be in this place in terms of mortality,” Angelov said.

He told reporters during a visit to Yambol: “Of course, we have an increase in coronavirus deaths at the moment in the country, but I am pleased that with the data we have – there are more people in hospital than during the second crisis, there are more in intensive care than in the second crisis – the system is holding up”.

Angelov said that of the additional 10 million doses of BioNTech-Pfizer vaccines that the European Commission had arranged, Bulgaria was ready to receive one million.

“The additional amount of vaccines we will order from Pfizer is 1.5 million. We will try to shift the deliveries for the fourth quarter to the second quarter. That is why we are negotiating at the expert level and the Prime Minister at the high political level, and we are on the way to achieving this,” Angelov said.

For the rest of The Sofia Globe’s continuing coverage of the Covid-19 situation in Bulgaria, please click here.

The Sofia Globe’s coverage of the Covid-19 situation in Bulgaria is supported by the Embassies of Switzerland and Finland.

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The Sofia Globe staff

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