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 October 20, roughly 2.5 percent of the U.S. population had been infected, compared with 0.6 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 October 20, in absolute numbers, the United States had far more confirmed cases than Iran. The United States had over 8.2 million cases compared to 539,670 cases. The U.S. total was 15 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 abs

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 abs

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 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

 

Total Deaths

As of October 20, the United States reported 218,935 deaths while Iran reported 31,034 deaths. The United States recorded more than seven times the total in Iran. But proportionately, the number of deaths would be closer. The United States would have nearly double the number of deaths in Iran. 

Total Deaths Abs

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 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

 

 

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