How the coronavirus death toll compares to other pandemics, including SARS, HIV, and the Black Death

Eric Gaillard/Reuters

The novel coronavirus has already killed more than 4,600 people in China, 32,300 in Italy, 27,800 in Spain, and it isn’t done yet.

In the Americas, now the epicentre of this global pandemic, more than 1.5 million coronavirus cases have been diagnosed to date in the US alone, where upwards of 94,600 people have died so far.

As of May 22, here’s how the death count of COVID-19 compared with other pandemics that have spread far and wide, with devastating consequences:

Covid 19 death toll compared to other pandemics graphic May 22Shayanne Gal/Business Insider

COVID-19 is extremely contagious and spreads easily from person to person through close contact.

It’s too early to calculate the overall death rate from the viral illness, but so far the most severe coronavirus cases often include some difficulty breathing, and many of those require hospitalisation. In intensive care, patients may be hooked up to ventilators, which help blow more oxygen into a person’s lungs.

Update: This post was originally published on April 1, 2020. It was updated last on May 22.

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