Every Graph Tells a Story (Daily COVID-19 data update XCIX)

Graphs day 99, pandemic day 106, day 176 since the first cases were diagnosed. Today, rather than do an update of all the usual graphs, I’ll focus on two results: one is an update of an earlier prediction, and the other is a brand new result. But first:

Total cases of COVID-19 diagnosed worldwide: 9,229,049

Total deaths: 477,269

Predictions old and new

Back on May 17th, I made some predictions about the future course of the epidemic; six weeks later, that has become the past course as they epidemic continues to rage. So how did it go?

In terms of total worldwide cases, reality arrived ahead of schedule. I predicted we would hit five million global cases on May 23rd, and six million global cases on June 1st. Instead, we hit five million cases one day early, on May 22nd. We hit five days early, on May 31st.

In terms of deaths, though, I am pleased to say that my predictions were too high. I predicted we would hit 400,000 deaths on June 4th and 500,000 deaths on June 17th. In reality, the 400,000 death mark arrived on June 8th, and as of June 24th we still have not reached 500,000 deaths.

If you are planning to judge me on my predictions, then: how accurate were your predictions of the future course of the COVID-19 pandemic? If you didn’t make any before, now’s the time. Now’s the time for me too – here are my predictions of future deaths based on the last month of data.

The graph below shows the cumulative number of deaths from COVID-19 from the beginning of the epidemic to today. On May 26th, public health authorities in Spain issues a revised death toll, removing some people who had died of other causes. Deaths by day since then are shown by yellow squares; the black line shows the best fit to those numbers.

Total number of deaths per day in 2020. The green squares show early numbers; the yellow squares show deaths since May 26th, the day Spain revised its death toll. The black line shows the best-fit line to deaths since that date. Click for a larger version.

Since that May 26th update, deaths have been growing steadily at the rate of about 4,500 people per day. The good news is that the death rate is not increasing; the bad news is that it is not decreasing either. That steady rate lets me make predictions of when we will reach the next two death-related milestones.

Five hundred thousand deaths: Tuesday, June 30th

Six hundred thousand deaths: Wednesday, July 22nd

If you think you can do better, make your own predictions in the comments!

The United States: cases by state

The United States continues to lead the world in overall cases of COVID-19 (although Qatar and Chile far surpass us in cases per million people). The U.S. is such a big, diverse, politically decentralized country that it makes sense to look at cases not just in the country as a whole, but by state and county.

Remember that the state data is one day behind the national data, and comes from a different source. So there will be some differences, but the differences are small and explainable.

On Monday, I showed some map of the number of reported cases by state, per million people. Here is the map of cases, updated through yesterday:

Cases per million people in U.S. states (click for a larger version)

This is total cases reported, including both people who have died of COVID-19 and people who have recovered. But how have these numbers changed over the course of the epidemic?

Presenting here, for the first time, a graph of COVID-19 case rates (per million people) in individual U.S. states. The date axis (horizontal) starts on March 10th, two days before overall cases in the U.S. reached the magic number of 1 case per 1 million people. The vertical axis is “Qatar scale,” from zero to 700 cases per million people.

I picked several interesting states to show you in this first view: some northeastern states that had high rates early (New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Maryland), some southern states that have seen their rates increase recently (Florida, Texas, Arizona), and of course, the granddaddy of them all, California.

Cases per million people per day in nine U.S. states (click for a larger version)

The graph tells an amazing story: some states have gotten their COVID-19 epidemics under control, some are simply looking on as the pandemic spins out of control today.

There is so much more I could say about this graph. I’m looking forward to exploring it with you in more detail in the coming days.

Want to try out some of these graphs for yourself? You can get the data that I used to make the country graphs from the European Centers for Disease Control’s Coronavirus Source Data; choose “all four metrics.” You can get the U.S. state data from the Corona Data Scraper site; choose today’s data as CSV.

If it would help you to start from my Excel templates, please use them! The county data and analysis is in my national-level data template (now version 4.2). Data and analysis for U.S. states is in my new state-level template (version 1.0).

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

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