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What Might Explain Why Some Countries Fare So Badly In The Pandemic?

Maryland Cremation Services transporter Reggie Elliott brings the remains of a COVID-19 victim to his van from the hospital's morgue in Baltimore, Maryland, on Dec. 24, 2020. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images)
Maryland Cremation Services transporter Reggie Elliott brings the remains of a COVID-19 victim to his van from the hospital's morgue in Baltimore, Maryland, on Dec. 24, 2020. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images)

A persistent question about COVID-19 that remains unanswered a year into this pandemic: Why do so many people die in some countries — but not in others?

More than 515,000 people have now died from COVID-19 in the U.S., but in India, the recorded deaths have been less than one-third of that, even though the population is about four times as large.

Similarly, South Africa has been hit hard, but in Nigeria and Côte d’Ivoire, the deaths have been far lower than expected.

Here & Now‘s Callum Borchers speaks with doctor and Pulitzer-prize winning author Siddhartha Mukherjee has been trying to solve the mystery. His piece about that effort is in this week’s New Yorker.

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.