Covid-19 mortality is negatively associated with test number and government effectiveness

Sci Rep. 2020 Jul 24;10(1):12567. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-68862-x.


A question central to the Covid-19 pandemic is why the Covid-19 mortality rate varies so greatly across countries. This study aims to investigate factors associated with cross-country variation in Covid-19 mortality. Covid-19 mortality rate was calculated as number of deaths per 100 Covid-19 cases. To identify factors associated with Covid-19 mortality rate, linear regressions were applied to a cross-sectional dataset comprising 169 countries. We retrieved data from the Worldometer website, the Worldwide Governance Indicators, World Development Indicators, and Logistics Performance Indicators databases. Covid-19 mortality rate was negatively associated with Covid-19 test number per 100 people (RR = 0.92, P = 0.001), government effectiveness score (RR = 0.96, P = 0.017), and number of hospital beds (RR = 0.85, P < 0.001). Covid-19 mortality rate was positively associated with proportion of population aged 65 or older (RR = 1.12, P < 0.001) and transport infrastructure quality score (RR = 1.08, P = 0.002). Furthermore, the negative association between Covid-19 mortality and test number was stronger among low-income countries and countries with lower government effectiveness scores, younger populations and fewer hospital beds. Predicted mortality rates were highly associated with observed mortality rates (r = 0.77; P < 0.001). Increasing Covid-19 testing, improving government effectiveness and increasing hospital beds may have the potential to attenuate Covid-19 mortality.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Betacoronavirus / isolation & purification
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections / mortality*
  • Coronavirus Infections / pathology
  • Coronavirus Infections / virology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Government Regulation*
  • Health Policy
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Linear Models
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / mortality*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / pathology
  • Pneumonia, Viral / virology
  • SARS-CoV-2