Coronavirus: Why It Hits High-Income Countries Hardest

When I’m not working on my own podcast, I’m often listening to other podcasts. Here’s a brief podcast episode recommendation from me. It comes from the March 16 episode of Bill Nye’s “Science Rules” podcast.


This episode features a fascinating discussion between Bill Nye and Dr. Siddhartha Mukerjee (MD/Immunologist/Virologist) about the counterintuitive data for why high-income countries are being hit the hardest by covid-19. Some of countries discussed include the U.S., Mexico, Thailand, Nigeria, and Japan.

In short, a population’s immune’s system response/defense (either successful or not) is a combination of things such as whether or not the population has experienced a similar disease that gives the immune system a better chance at fighting covid. However, other factors can contribute to a countries success (or lack thereof) with covd-19. For example, does the country practice “warehousing” of older citizens? That is, do old people live in assisted living facilities all grouped together or do they live in inter-generational homes with their families? In the case of the U.S., most elderly citizens are grouped together in these types of facilities and as such elderly citizens make up a high proportion of covid deaths.

In summary, there’s no one factor that we can point to for why covid-19 has caused more destruction, devastation, and death in one country versus another, because it is a combination of factors. However, by understanding which factors have contributed to it will help us understand how to better combat the next pandemic.

In the meantime, remember to wash your hands, watch your distance, wear a mask, and (when you can) get vaccinated!