Coronavirus: Why per capita deaths in Italy so vastly exceed deaths in America
A Reader writes
I was looking for a chart listing all the states in the US rated by the number of cases and number of deaths PER CAPITA. I could not find one so I made my own, using info from the excellent New York Times COVID-19 data by state and county, updated every hour. I have attached it here. Since testing is sporadic and not standardized, I don't put much value on the Cases/Million. But Deaths/Million is a very real thing. So I sorted the table by Cases/Million, in descending order.
American States are hugely safe compared with Italy. As of 29 March, 11,000 have died in Italy, or 183 per capita. Why was Italy so badly hit? A number of reasons came together:
1).The chief cause is that they have a large elderly population. The average age at death from Coronavirus in Italy was 80. We are talking about elderly Italians who were in frail health to start with
2). Italians tend to be keen smokers. Heavy smokers at any age are a high risk group. Coronavirus is mainly a lung disease and smoking damages lung capacity.
3). Italians are notorious scofflaws. They tend to treat laws as just suggestions. So you can imagine the low compliance with laws aimed to get them to stay at home. "Promenading" is a common leisure activity among Italian men