Israel Is Now World’s Worst in Daily COVID-19 Infections Per Capita
But in daily deaths per capita from the pandemic, Tunisia, Iran, Cyprus and Turkey are all doing worse
Israel now holds the unenviable position of world’s top spot in new coronavirus cases per capita. Over the past seven days, an average of 1,059 daily new cases were confirmed per million population, according to data reported by the Israeli Health Ministry and compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
Montenegro and Georgia are in the second and third positions, with 960 and 921 cases per million population, respectively. The United States stands at 503 new cases per million people.
All other countries in the MENA region now report significantly better statistics, including hard-hit Iran, Turkey and Tunisia.
After Israel, the Palestinian territories have the next-highest rate of new infections, with 387 cases per million. Iran is close behind with 385 per million, followed by Cyprus (298), Turkey (233), Tunisia (224), Libya (209), Iraq (166), Lebanon (164), and, rounding out the top 10, Morocco (145).
The high numbers of confirmed cases in Cyprus, Israel and Turkey are partly explained by high rates of testing. The rolling seven-day average of daily new COVID-19 tests per capita in Cyprus is now the highest in the world, with 49 tests daily per 1,000 people. Israel is performing 15 tests per 1,000 people and Turkey, about 3 per 1,000. In most Middle Eastern countries, the daily testing rate is less than 1 per 1,000 people.
Israel has not previously experienced numbers like these over the entire course of the pandemic. Its Health Ministry reported a daily new high of 20,523 COVID-19 cases for Wednesday, surpassing the previous record of 11,137, set the day before.
This sudden spike may be related to the fact that Wednesday was the first day of the new school year, and massive numbers of returning schoolchildren and teachers needed to be tested to enter classrooms. But that’s just a conjecture. It will take a few days to see if the numbers return to where they were in late August – which were in any case above the peak of the previous wave, in mid-January 2021, when daily new cases reached about 10,200.
Meanwhile, both the return to classrooms and synagogue and family gatherings for the upcoming Jewish holidays may drive the infection rate even higher. On the other hand, the virus may retreat as more and younger children join the ranks of the vaccinated.
The record-high rate of new cases in Israel has not resulted in record-high fatality rates. Tunisia currently has the highest seven-day rolling average daily deaths per capita from COVID-19, with about 8.1 deaths daily per million population. Iran is next-highest, at 7.3 deaths daily per million population. The top 5 among MENA countries include Cyprus (3.4), Turkey (3) and Israel (2.9).
In the United States, COVID-19 caused about 4.2 daily deaths per million population over the past week. The country of Georgia holds the top spot in the world now, with an average of 19.1 daily deaths per million for the past week.
Here are the latest COVID-19 numbers for the Middle East and North Africa as of 6 pm Greenwich Mean Time (UTC±0) on Thursday.
|Country||Confirmed Cases||Deaths||Recovered||Active Cases|
|United Arab Emirates||720,330||2,043||708,155||10,132|