COVID-19 by the Numbers: U.S. versus Iran

The United States and Iran have both been epicenters of the coronavirus pandemic. The United States reported its first confirmed case, in Washington state, on January 21. Iran’s first cases, both deaths, were reported on February 19. The U.S. population is 331 million, roughly four times larger than Iran’s population, which is approximately 84 million. As of November 17, roughly 3.4 percent of the U.S. population had been infected, compared with 0.9 percent of Iran’s population, according to government data in both countries. Both governments have acknowledged that the data on COVID-19 is preliminary and may change as earlier deaths are investigated and earlier cases are discovered through anti-body testing. The following graphs reflect two different data points. The first compares the real numbers in each country. The second reflects the numbers proportionate to their population.

 

Total Cases

As of November 17, in absolute numbers, the United States had far more confirmed cases than Iran. The United States had over 11.2 million cases compared to 788,473 cases. The U.S. total was more than 14 times the total in Iran. But proportionately, the number of cases in each country would be closer. The United States would have nearly four times the number of cases in Iran. 

Total Cases

U.S. Source: USAFacts aggregated data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), state- and local-level public health agencies.
Iran Source: Johns Hopkins University of Medicine - Coronavirus Resource Center, Iranian Ministry of Health

 


Total Cases Adj

U.S. Source: USAFacts aggregated data from the CDC, state- and local-level public health agencies
Iran Source: Johns Hopkins University of Medicine - Coronavirus Resource Center, Iranian Ministry of Health

 

Daily Cases

The U.S. and Iran had similar number of cases during the first month, but U.S. cases skyrocketed and gyrated beginning on March 17. The U.S. consistently had thousands of more new cases per day than Iran.

Daily Cases

 

U.S. Source: USAFacts aggregated data from the CDC, state- and local-level public health agencies
Iran Source: Johns Hopkins University of Medicine - Coronavirus Resource Center, Iranian Ministry of Health

 

 

Adjusted Daily

U.S. Source: USAFacts aggregated data from the CDC, state- and local-level public health agencies
Iran Source: Johns Hopkins University of Medicine - Coronavirus Resource Center, Iranian Ministry of Health

 

Total Deaths

As of November 17, the United States reported 245,149 deaths while Iran reported 42,461 deaths. The United States recorded more than five times the total in Iran. But proportionately, the number of deaths would be closer. The United States would have nearly 1.5 times the number of deaths in Iran. 

Total Death

U.S. Source: USAFacts aggregated data from the CDC, state- and local-level public health agencies
Iran Source: Johns Hopkins University of Medicine - Coronavirus Resource Center, Iranian Ministry of Health

 

Adj Deaths

U.S. Source: USAFacts aggregated data from the CDC, state- and local-level public health agencies
Iran Source: Johns Hopkins University of Medicine - Coronavirus Resource Center, Iranian Ministry of Health

 

Mortality

U.S. Source: USAFacts aggregated data from the CDC, state- and local-level public health agencies
Iran Source: Johns Hopkins University of Medicine - Coronavirus Resource Center, Iranian Ministry of Health

 

The graphs were initially assembled by Alex Yacoubian, a program assistant at the U.S. Institute of Peace. Andrew Hanna, a program specialist, updated this piece.

Updated