Whether it is the numbers of deaths and infections or the share of positive test results, Poland is currently at the top of the ranking of countries most affected by the pandemic in the world. Not only do we surpass France or Spain, but even the USA.
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1. In terms of new daily coronavirus infections, Poland is faring worse than the United States


To establish this, we have used a measure of the total number of cases confirmed in an individual country within the period of 14 days, calculated per million inhabitants. By using this figure, we can compare countries with different population sizes and observe continuing trends. The choice of 14-day-long period is advantageous because it is not affected by any distortion, while this would be the case for a week-long interval as the number of the infections could vary throughout the week. This measure also allows us to analyse how the pandemic develops in a given country in the long run.

In terms of the number of new confirmed Covid-19 cases, in recent days Poland is similar to France or Czech Republic, two of the hardest hit countries in the EU. In the United States - long considered to be a state which suffers from the most severe epidemiological crisis within the Western world - the current trends, while still very worrying, are better than in Poland.

Appallingly low number of tests 

2. Poland has one of the highest percentages of positive coronavirus tests in the world.

The WHO recommendations indicate that this percentage should not exceed 5%. If it is higher, this may mean that the country is not able to locate infected people effectively enough, and that the actual number of infections may significantly differ from the national statistics.

This is the case for Poland. The 7-day average percentage of positive coronavirus tests is around 34%. This figure may be rising - according to data given by the Ministry of Health on 9 November, the percentage of positive test results has already reached 50% during one day. Only in Mexico, Oman and Macedonia is the situation worse. However, it should be noted that not all countries in the world have data on this subject available in the Our World in Data database. At the same time, the source itself is very reliable - the team responsible for Our World in Data works at the Oxford University.

Data on number of deaths in line with those on infection rates

3. Poland is also among the countries with the highest number of COVID-19 deaths globally.

Number of deaths due to COVID-19 confirms the observations resulting from the data on the number of infections. Data on deaths could be more credible than the statistics on infection rates. However, it should be noted that analysing data from Poland is problematic. As the authors of Our World in Data warn, this data could be deceptive, due to, among other things, the fact that the Polish health services apply a much more narrow understanding of coronavirus-related death than other countries.

However, even with the relatively strict death criteria applied in Poland, analysis of the data confirms that the country is now fifth in the EU in terms of new COVID-related deaths per million inhabitants - below Belgium and Czechia, but with worse indicators than France and Spain. 


Every day, 400 journalists at Gazeta Wyborcza write verified, fact-checked stories about the coronavirus pandemic for you.

They are on the front lines in 25 Polish cities. They work on the ground, reporting from hospitals and airports.

We have decided to open online access to our news stories and special guides focused on the issue of public health, for free.

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