Three reasons why the COVID-19 death rate is higher in the U.S. than Canada

In an effort to counter the worst spread of COVID-19 in the U.S., authorities imposed a rare shutdown this week on New York City’s subway system as crews disinfected it. 
Brendan McDermid/Reuters

Date of Publication: May 6, 2020

Source: CBC

Latest data shows that the U.S. has a COVID-19 mortality rate approximately twice that of Canada, which sits at 100 per million. Infectious disease experts have collectively pointed to three main contributors: the early spread of COVID-19 in New York City, lack of access to healthcare, as well as inconsistent political leadership. New York City has twice the population density of Vancouver, the most populated city in Canada, and suffered high infection and death rates before the severity of the pandemic was even clear and a response plan could be developed. Additionally, nearly 10% of Americans did not have health insurance before the pandemic, leading to rates of undertreated preexisting conditions which increases the severity of COVID-19. While the US government has promised to cover testing and treatment costs related to COVID-19, there have been reports of unexpected costs or lengthy travel to testing facilities. Lastly, U.S. public opinion polls show a partisan gap in attitudes about the pandemic and the resulting physical distancing practices, with Republicans less worried than Democrats. Tracking data collected by Google suggests that overall, Canadians practiced more physical distancing than Americans and began doing so sooner. Additionally, experts say that Canadian politicians, while not perfect, have tried to maintain consistent messaging as opposed to the US in which President Trump repeatedly clashed with state governors at various stages of the crisis.

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Summary by: Sophia Duong