COVID follows the Money
Previous research revealed that international differences in excess death rates due to acute respiratory infection (influenza) can be up to 15-fold in the age group of 65 to 74. The two nations with that much difference between them were Argentina and Germany.
Argentina averaged 44 excess deaths per 100,000 in flu seasons, but Germany only 2.9.
To help guess at how this largest-recorded difference in average excess death comes about, check out the percentage share of health coverage graphed on top of the GDP per capita:
The share of the populations covered by healthcare is similar, and therefore likely not the reason for this largest-recorded difference between nations. But the GDP is significantly different, so that factor cannot be eliminated as being a possible key cause of the difference.
Recall that Argentina does 15 times worse than Germany in a typical flu season, and is the one with the lower GDP per capita. Now let’s compare COVID deaths per million by the two extreme income levels for the entire world:
These are 7-day averages of daily deaths per million, and it is expected that each week is below 10 (only single-digit daily deaths per million are ever expected from flu). Something is going on here because the differences are too large. Recall that the largest-ever recorded difference in acute respiratory infection death rates is 15-fold.
Now let’s compare 36 weekly values for COVID deaths per million by all 4 income levels of the entire world:
The curious lock-step increases in COVID death with increases in income level are highly statistically significant, indicating a special cause rather than mere random variation. For high income, the average mulitiple of low income death rates for the 36 weeks (first week of each month for 36 months) showing here was 129 times.
That’s almost 10 times the highest-recorded international difference in death rates from previous respiratory infections. What makes the 129-fold difference even more astounding is that —while the 15x difference was between individual nations at the extremes — the 129x difference is for entire groups of nations at the extremes.
Here are the notes:
[click to enlarge]