Daily COVID-19 data update XCII: a new look at deaths

Graphs day 92, pandemic day 98, day 169 since the first cases were diagnosed.

Total cases of COVID-19 diagnosed worldwide: 8,142,129

Total deaths: 443,488

It’s Wednesday in the usual Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule, so it’s a longer post today. I’ll look at COVID-19 cases and deaths in our usual four categories of countries, based on the current progress of their local COVID-19 epidemic. Unfortunately, two large countries have traded places.

I’ll also show a new way of visualizing deaths on the same plot as cases. I’d love to know what you think of this new strategy. Leave a comment or let me know on le social media.

Worldwide cases

Plotting the number of new cases reported each day results in a curve that goes up and down as the pandemic waxes and wanes. Here’s what that type of graph looks like for the entire world over the entire history of the pandemic:

Cases of COVID-19 reported each day worldwide. The blue line is the actual reported number of cases; the red line is the smoothed number of cases (10-day moving average smoothing), showing the overall trend. Click for a larger version.

Throughout April, the curve held steady, and it looked like the pandemic was hitting its peak and headed toward a decline. Sadly, in May and June the number of daily cases has increased again. The pandemic is likely to get worse before it gets better.

Worldwide deaths

I’ll present some other ways of showing deaths by country later on in this post, but first let’s remind ourselves of what deaths look like worldwide. As mentioned above, 443,488 people have died of COVID-19. More than three-quarters of the worldwide deaths have come in just nine countries: the United States, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Italy, France, Spain, Mexico, India, and Belgium. Cumulative total deaths per day for those nine countries are shown in this graph:

Total deaths from COVID-19 by day in the 9 countries that together make up more than 75% of deaths (click for a larger version)

A flat line in this graph means a country where daily deaths have fallen to near zero. Deaths have gone close to zero in all of continental Europe; and while deaths are still increasing in the U.K., they are increasing at a much slower rate than just a few months ago.

Unfortunately, in all the non-European countries on the graph, deaths continue to grow at a disturbing rate.

Converting total deaths to per-capita numbers and showing them on a map for the entire world:

Map of deaths per million people worldwide. Click for a larger version.

and lastly, embiggening that map to focus on the regions with the highest per-capita death rate, Europe and the Americas:

Map of deaths per million people in various countries in Europe and the Americas. Click for a larger version.

Cases and deaths per million people by country

For a while now, I’ve been looking for a way to include information about deaths on the same graph as information about cases. This has become harder now that I’m still presenting deaths as a total (cumulative) amount of dead people, while now showing cases as daily reports.

But I think I have figured out a way to show both kinds of information on the same graph. Take a look below and let me know what you think.

I’ll show four separate graphs, corresponding to each of the categories of current epidemic state that we’ve been using so far. In all the graphs below, I have changed the way I do the data labels – the label now gives the name of the country along with the number of deaths per million people there (abbreviated dpm).

As before, the line thickness represents the case fatality rate (CFR) – the percentage of people who have ever been diagnosed with COVID-19 who have since died from COVID-19 (which varies from 0.1% in Qatar to nearly 19% in France). What’s new is that the size of the data label also indicates case fatality rate. Larger labels mean countries where COVID-19 is more likely to kill.

On to the graphs, sorted by the current state of the COVID-19 epidemic!

Countries where COVID-19 was quickly contained

Countries that quickly contained their COVID-19 epidemics (click for a larger version)

Thanks to taking swift and decisive action to combat the pandemic, China, South Korea, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand never had many COVID-19 cases or deaths to begin with. Note that the case fatality rates in South Korea and Australia were particularly low.

Countries where COVID-19 is currently under control

These countries experienced severe COVID-19 epidemics that killed many people, but they have all now brought the number of cases down close to zero.

Countries that experienced high rates of COVID-19, but have since brought the epidemic under control (click for a larger version)

Notice that the case fatality rate is fairly high in Belgium, France, and Italy – and fairly low in Switzerland and Serbia. In all these places, cases peaked between late March and mid-April. Last week I was worried that cases in Belgium might be rising again, but the good news is that cases there have been falling again.

Countries where cases are steady or decreasing

Several countries haven’t gotten their epidemics under control, but they seem to be headed in the right direction – daily cases are steady or decreasing. Peru is back on this list. Notice who’s gone?

Countries where newly-reported cases per million people are steady or decreasing (click for a larger version)

Note that the inset graph has a different scale, going up to 700 cases per million people. That larger scale is needed to show Qatar, which has far more cases than other countries. The case fatality rate in the U.K. is quite a lot higher than the other countries on this list.

I haven’t shown you the curve for the U.S. yet – and tragically, there is only one category left.

Countries where the epidemic is getting worse

I really, really, really wish I didn’t have to say this, but: cases in the United States have increased each of the last three days. And so, sadly, the U.S. moves into the “getting worse” category, joining Chile, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, and India.

Countries where the epidemic is still getting worse (click for a larger version)

Sweden has by far the highest case fatality rate on this list.

Want to try out some of these graphs for yourself? You can get the data that I used to make these graphs from the European Centers for Disease Control’s Coronavirus Source Data; choose “all four metrics.” You’re still welcome to use my Excel template – I added a section for making the deaths graph to what is now verison 4.1, so that is the only one you need.

Update tomorrow, and every day after that until this pandemic comes to an end.

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