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Some said it's as bad as the flu, others predicted worse. Then news about health systems being overwhelmed and bodies piling up started to emerge.
That gave a bleak picture. But it's not everywhere. Mortality rates in Qatar and Singapore are below 0.1% - among the world's lowest.
The Gulf nation's mortality rate is at 0.07% -- that's 12 deaths in more than 16,000 cases.
And Singapore's is 0.093% of more than 19,000 infections.
Experts say testing, the availabilty of hospital beds and population age are three critical factors.
Yet, Singapore's outbreak is the biggest in southeast Asia
And Qatar has the second highest number of cases in the Arab world, although the curve is flattening.
So what's exactly behind that?
Presenter: Peter Dobbie
Dr Ali Omrani, Senior Consultant in Infectious Diseases and Head of Research at the Communicable Diseases Center at the Hamad Medical Corporation.
Dr Annie Sparrow, Professor of Population Health Science and Policy at Mount Sinai Hospital.
Archie Clements, Professor of Infectious Disease at Curtin University Perth.