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Differences by Country-Level Income in COVID-19 Cases, Deaths, Case-Fatality Rates, and Rates Per Million Population in the First Five Months of the Pandemic

Author(s): Wrishmeen Sabawoon

Objective: To describe differences by country-level income in COVID-19 cases, deaths, case-fatality rates, incidence rates, and death rates per million population.

Methods: Publicly available data on COVID-19 cases and deaths from December 31, 2019 to June 3, 2020 were analyzed. Kruskal-Wallis tests were used to examine associations of country-level income with COVID-19 cases, deaths, case-fatality rates, incidence rates, and death rates.

Results: A total of 380,803 deaths out of 6,348,204 COVID-19 cases were reported from 210 countries and territories globally in the period under study, and the global case-fatality rate was 6.0%. Of the total globally reported cases and deaths, the percentages of cases and deaths were 59.9% and 75.0% for high-income countries, and 30.9% and 20.7% for upper-middle-income countries. Countries in higher income categories had higher incidence rates and death rates. Between April and May, the incidence rates in higher-income groups of countries decreased, but in other groups it increased.

Conclusions: In the first five months of the COVID-19 pandemic, most cases and deaths were reported from high-income and upper-middle-income countries, and those countries had higher incidence rates and death rates per million population than did lower-middle and low-income countries.

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