COVID-19-Related Mortality across the Gulf Cooperation Council Countries: Based on Countries’ Available Data Up to November, 2020

Main Article Content

Amar Ahmad
Heba Mamdouh
Heba Al- Naseri
Aisha Al Hamiz
Christian Heumann
Raghib Ali


Background: The world has endured a high burden of mortality and morbidity due to Covid-19 over the last year. There may be factors that account for differences in mortality rates. The Gulf Corporation Council (GCC) countries share similar cultural identities, socioeconomic conditions, population structure and display similar health-status composition of their population. There is a demand for data on the differentials of the COVID-19 pandemic across all countries. This statistical analysis primarily compared the crude mortality rates, and estimates the relative risk of COVID-19 death rates across the GCC countries using longitudinal study design.

Methods: This statistical analysis used downloaded data from Our World in Data, which was last updated on November 19, 2020. We computed COVID-19 crude mortality rates for the GCC countries individually. We estimated COVID-19 death rates for the GCC countries and compared them to the reference largest country Saudi Arabia. To adjust for most relevant confounding factors for COVID-19 deaths, a Poisson mixed effect regression model was fitted with COVID-19 new cases and the number test per case as fixed effect predictors of COVID-19 deaths. 

Results: The estimated relative risk of COVID-19 deaths rates for UAE and Qatar was 0.352 (95% CI: 0.220-0.564, p-value <0.001) and 0.467 (95% CI: 0.287-0.762, p-value = 0.002), respectively, showing 64.8% and 53.3% fewer COVID-19 death rates compared to Saudi Arabia, individually. No statistically significant difference was found between Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman as compared with Saudi Arabia.

Conclusion: The UAE has the lowest COVID-19 death rate among any other GCC countries, followed by Qatar. In addition, the number of tests per case were negatively associated with the number of Covid-19 deaths. Besides, the number of new COCID-19 infections relative to the number of patients correlates with the number of patient deaths.

COVID-19, crude mortality rates, COVID-19 mortality, relative risk, gulf cooperation council countries.

Article Details

How to Cite
Ahmad, A., Mamdouh, H., Naseri, H. A.-, Hamiz, A. A., Heumann, C., & Ali, R. (2021). COVID-19-Related Mortality across the Gulf Cooperation Council Countries: Based on Countries’ Available Data Up to November, 2020. Asian Journal of Medicine and Health, 18(11), 159-166.
Original Research Article


Monica Wang L, Pamela Behrman, Akilah Dulin, Monica Baskin L, Joanna Buscemi, Kassandra Alcaraz I et al. Addressing inequities in COVID-19 morbidity and mortality: Research and policy recommendations. Translational Beha vioral Medicine. 2020;10(3):516–519. Available:

World Health Organization. COVID-19 Strategy Update. Available: Accessed: 20.11.2020.

World Health Organization. Estimating mortality from COVID-19: Scientific brief. Available: Accessed: 20.11.2020. Reference number: WHO/2019-nCoV/Sci_Brief/Mortality/2020.1

Johns hopkins corona virus resource. Mortality analyses: Mortality in the most affected countries. Available: Accessed: 20.11.2020.

Measures of risk. Mortality frequency measures: Mortality rate. Available: Accessed: 20.11.2020.

World Health Organization. WHO Director-General's opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID-19, 2020. Available: Accessed: 20.11.2020.

labdulkarim N, Alsultan F, Bashir S. Gulf countries responding to COVID-19. Dubai Med J 2020;3:58-60. DOI: 10.1159/000508662.

Coronavirus pandemic data explorer. Our world in data COVID-19 dataset. Available:®ion=World&deathsMetric=true&interval=smoothed&perCapita=true&smoothing=7&pickerMetric=total_cases&pickerSort=desc. Accessed: 20.11.2020.

Roy S, Ghosh P. Factors affecting COVID-19 infected and death rates inform lockdown-related policymaking. PLoS ONE. 2020;15(10):e0241165. Available:

Gulf cooperation council. Encyclopædia Britannica. Available: Accessed: 20.11.2020.

Ardent advisory & accounting. GCC healthcare sector a focus area for governments; 2015. Available: Accessed: 20.11.2020.

Hale Thomas, Noam Angrist, Emily Cameron-Blake, Laura Hallas, Beatriz Kira, Saptarshi Majumdar et al. Oxford COVID-19 government response tracker, blavatnik school of government; 2020

Ritchie H. Our world in data: Coronavirus Source Data. Available: Accessed: 19.11.2020.

Statistics Notes: Missing outcomes in randomized trials. Andrew J Vickers, Douglas G Altman. BMJ. 2013; 346 DOI:

Handbook of vital statistics systems and methods: Legal, organisational and technical aspects, united nations studies in methods, glossary, series f, no. 35, united nations, New York. 1991;1

Nikolopoulos K, Syntetos AA, Boylan JE, Petropoulous F, Assimakopoulos V. An aggregate- disaggregate intermittent demand approach (ADIDA) to forecasting: An empirical proposition and analysis. Journal of the Operational Research Society. 2011;62:544-554.

Bates D, Mächler M, Bolker B, Walker S. Fitting linear mixed-effects models using lme4. Journal of Statistical Software. 2015;67(1):1–48. DOI: 10.18637/jss.v067.i01.

A language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria; 2020.

World Health Organization. Indicator Metadata Registry List: Crude death rate. Available: Last accessed: 19.11.2020.

COVID-19: UAE among the world’s first countries to test 50 per cent of its population. Available: Accessed: 20.11.2020.

Record infections, few deaths: How Qatar has tackled COVID. Available: Accessed: 22.11.2020.

UAE first country where number of COVID-19 tests exceeded population.

Available: Last accessed 20.11.2020.

OECD policy responses to coronavirus (COVID-19): COVID-19 crisis response in MENA countries. Available: Accessed: 30.11.2020.

Fielding-Miller RK, Sundaram ME, Brouwer K. Social determinants of COVID-19 mortality at the county level. Med Rxiv; 2020. Available:

Spiegelhalter D. Use of normal risk to improve understanding of dangers of covid-19. BMJ. 2020;370:m3259. Available: Published: 09 September 2020.