An image of a map is being shared widely on social media with a claim that all the worst affected countries, by COVID-19, are along the same latitude i.e. 40-degree North. Let’s try to analyze the claim made in the post.
Claim: Most affected countries by COVID-19 are along the same 40-degree North latitude.
Fact: 40-degree North latitude passes through some of the countries most affected by COVID-19 but does not pass through half of the locations given in the post. Also, it does not touch Wuhan (Hubei Province – where around 60% of all the positive cases are reported), which is at around 30-degree North latitude. Hence the claim made in the post is FALSE.
In the world map, it can be seen that 40-degree North latitude passes through the following countries: Spain, Italy, Albania, Greece, Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan Kyrgyzstan, China, North Korea, Japan, US, and Portugal.
The list of countries most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic can be found on the WHO website. The top-10 most affected countries (as on 12 March 2020) are China, Italy, Iran, Republic of Korea, France, Spain, Germany, US, Switzerland, and Japan.
When we compare both the lists, it can be found there are only four countries (US, Spain, China, and Japan) through which the 40-degree North passes and are in the top-10 most affected countries. There are many more countries through which the 40-degree North passes and are not in the top-10 most affected list. Also, no positive COVID-19 cases were reported (as on 12 March 2020) in Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan. [Also, North Korea]
Even among the four countries, through which the 40-degree North passes and are in the top-10 most affected countries, in the US and China, it can be observed that the 40-degree North does not pass through the most affected region in the respective country. The most affected regions in the US and China are Washington State and Hubei Province (Wuhan) respectively. The 40-degree North does not pass through them.
To sum it up, not all the countries most affected by COVID-19 are on the 40-degree North latitude.
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