A mortality perspective on COVID-19: Time, location, and age

on March 22, 2020, at the time of writing, the total number of recorded deaths from the novel coronavirus stood at just below 14,000. This is a large number and is bound to increase, exponentially for a time, but it needs to be understood in context. It can be large or small depending on the time frame, the geographic scale, and the demographic composition of the population affected.

The number of COVID-19 fatalities is small compared to the 12 million total number of people who have already died this year from all causes, but the numbers could reach 3.6 million in just eight weeks at the current pace of deaths doubling each week. In the counterfactual, without COVID-19, we would expect 60 million global deaths in 2020, with 18 million people dying from heart disease, 10 million from cancer, 6.5 million from respiratory diseases, 1.6 million from diarrhea, 1.5 million in road incidents, and 1 million deaths from HIV/AIDS. Suicides could number 800,000.

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