There are many suspected cases of COVID-19: Coronavirus Live Updates: NPR

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President Trump speaks as he points to China on a graph showing death rates per 100,000 population during a briefing by the coronavirus task force on April 18. Belgium has climbed to the top of the graph because authorities include all deaths that are even suspected of being caused by the virus, whether or not the deceased has been tested.

Al Drago / Reuters

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Al Drago / Reuters

President Trump speaks as he points to China on a graph showing death rates per 100,000 population during a briefing by the coronavirus task force on April 18. Belgium has climbed to the top of the graph because authorities include all deaths that are even suspected of being caused by the virus, whether or not the deceased has been tested.

Al Drago / Reuters

At a recent press conference, President Trump highlighted a bar graph showing the number of coronavirus deaths per capita far beyond all the others. It was not Italy or Spain, the countries with the highest number of deaths in Europe – but Belgium.

Meanwhile, the chart places the US rate under six European countries.

The bill enraged Belgian government minister Denis Ducarme, who called it “macabre” and “zero-level” politics for Trump to suggest that Belgium’s numbers are so poor and “all is well” for states -United. “Our counting method [COVID-19 deaths] is as exhaustive as possible! ” he tweeted in French.

Ducarme is right – but Trump’s picture was not wrong.

Belgium has climbed to the top of the dismal ranking because the authorities have decided to be radically transparent, if perhaps a little speculative, on the assessment of the new coronavirus. They include not only deaths for which the virus is confirmed, but also those suspected of being linked, whether or not the victim has been tested.

On Wednesday, Belgium, with a population of over 11.4 million, counted a total of 6,262 deaths due to COVID-19 – around 540 per million citizens – and more than half of these deaths were occurred in nursing homes. Of these 52%, only 4.5% were confirmed as infected, but all are counted in the national count.

Other countries, such as the United States, are still trying to manage this situation.



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