Geographical Disparities in COVID Mortality: Regression Findings

Takahiro Miyao
International Journal of Economics and Business Administration, Volume XII, Issue 1, 87-98, 2024
DOI: 10.35808/ijeba/834


Purpose: After almost four years of the COVID pandemic, there remain significant differences in its effect on the death rate (death per 1M population) and the fatality rate (death/case ratio) among different regions of the world, especially between Eastern and Western countries, according to the cumulative figures found in Worldometers. For example, the death rate and the fatality rate for Japan are 595 and 0.221% respectively, whereas those for the US are 3,519 and 1.082% respectively. The aim of this research is to examine and determine what factors can explain these regional differences in the COVID death and fatality rates for some 150 countries around the world. Design/Methodology/Approach: First, we overview the geographical patterns of those cumulative figures, particularly international differences between the East and the West as well as between the North and the South by the regression analysis using the longitude and the latitude numbers for some 150 countries. Second, we introduce key economic, demographic and health factors as explanatory variables in our regression analysis to explain the regional differences revealed in our longitude-latitude approach. Finally, we present our hypothesis regarding the degree of immunity for corona viruses to explain what is left unexplained by the key socio-economic factors. Findings: Our results show that the representative economic factor, that is, per capita income, is the only consistently significant variable among various other social and health factors which could, in theory, affect the regional differences in COVID cases, deaths and fatality rates. Our analysis also shows that per capita income cannot fully explain the regional differences and the longitude variable remains significant in our regressions with the per capita income variable included. This result has led us to the hypothesis regarding the degree of immunity. Practical implications: Our study implies that we should be more careful about adopting globally uniform anti-corona virus policies which are often recommended by international organizations on the basis of data and/or observations in certain countries or regions, mostly the Western world. What we need is a more localized, or regionalized policy making and adoption approach toward a “pandemic” like COVID, based on data and observations in each region, as there might well be significant regional differences in the death and fatality rates remaining over several years. Originality/Value: This is the first empirical study to highlight and analyze the regional differences, particularly the East-West differences, in COVID cases, death, and fatality rates. It is also significant that this study is the first attempt to comprehensively use the worldwide data listed in the Worldometer table, which is often cited but never fully utilized to do empirical studies.

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