How the coronavirus death toll compares to other pandemics, including SARS, HIV, and the Black Death

  • The new coronavirus, and the illness it causes, COVID-19, have killed more than 44,000 people around the world so far.

The novel coronavirus has already killed more than 3,000 people in China, 9,000 in Spain, 12,000 in Italy, and it isn't done yet.

In the US, the White House's Coronavirus Task Force has recently estimated that in a best case scenario, the virus may kill upwards of 200,000 people nationwide.

"We're very worried about every city in the United States, and the potential for this virus to get out of control," US coronavirus response coordinator Deborah Birx told NBC News on Monday morning. "If we do things together well, almost perfectly, we could get in the range of 100,000, 200,000 fatalities."

As of April 1, here's how the body count of COVID-19 — thus far — compares to other pandemics that have spread far and wide, with devastating consequences:

covid 19 death toll compared to other pandemics graphic
covid 19 death toll compared to other pandemics graphic

Shayanne Gal/Business Insider

COVID-19 is extremely contagious, and spreads easily from person to person through close contact.

It's too early to calculate what the overall death rate might be from the viral illness, but so far the most severe coronavirus cases often include some difficulty breathing, and many of those require hospitalization. In intensive care, patients may be hooked up to ventilators, which help blow more oxygen into a person's lungs.

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