Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise. Former National Post & Toronto Star columnist, past vice president of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. New posts: Mondays & Wednesdays.
The death toll you’ve heard almost nothing about.
Yesterday, Reuters published a puff piece about breweries making home deliveries via bicycle in Brussels. By-the-by, this news story told us “More than 5,500 people are currently in Belgium’s hospitals with COVID-19, the disease casued [sic] by the virus.”
That was it. One sentence. No context whatsoever. It’s almost as if the intent was to distract from the immensely significant news out of Belgium yesterday: per capita, coronavirus deaths have now surpassed Italy.
This nation of 12 million people. This home to the European Commission, the European Council, the Council of the European Union, and the European Parliament. This singular concentration of regulators, bureaucrats, diplomats, activists, and politicized academics. IS A BLEEPING VIRUS HOTSPOT. Among the deadliest places in the world at the moment.
One way of assessing how a country is coping is the ‘deaths per million’ statistic. Out of every million residents, how many have died of the coronavirus (according to official numbers).
We know Italy has been hit extraordinarily hard. So has Spain. Earlier this month, Spain overtook Italy. Because thousands of people remain infected in both of those countries, the ‘deaths per million’ figure continues to change. As of noon yesterday, the official tally was
Spain: 386 deaths per million
Belgium: 359 deaths per million
Italy: 338 deaths per million
What’s happening in Belgium isn’t at all clear. Some countries include deaths that occur in nursing homes in their totals, others don’t. But here are other ‘deaths per million’ scores as of noon yesterday:
The per capita death rate in Belgium is extraordinary.