COVID-19 has spread to nearly every corner of the Earth, save Antarctica, forcing border closures and stay-at-home orders and triggering a global economic downturn.
The latest U.S. government estimate is that between 100,000 and 240,000 Americans could die from the dangerous respiratory infection before the pandemic is brought under control.
It is still too early to know the mortality rate for this coronavirus. Around the world, testing supplies remain inadequate. And the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says about 25% of people infected with the virus may exhibit no symptoms at all.
But for other major outbreaks, the global medical community —including the CDC, the World Health Organization, and the National Institutes of Health — tracks mortality rates.
Understandably, the death rate for any disease varies depending on access to vaccines and medical care. The data in this gallery represents the high end of those ranges.
Some of these illnesses — like the novel coronavirus — spread from person to person. Others come from infected substances, animals or microscopic organisms.
But before we get to the ranking...