8 Graphs and Stats Clarifying How COVID-19 Is Spreading [UPDATED]

Note: This post was originally published on March 11. We have updated some of the original graphs with their latest versions as of March 17. We have also provided additional statistics not included in the original post. 

COVID-19, a.k.a. “the coronavirus,” is having a significant impact on populations around the world, as fears of the novel disease’s spread continue to hinder economies and disrupt community interaction. But the best way to understand how COVID-19 is behaving, in terms of transmission, is to look at the data. To that end, here are eight graphs, compiled with data from reputable sources, that illustrate how COVID-19 has found its way around the globe.

1. A Look at the Cases in China as of March 8, 2020

To start off, here is a graph giving some sense of how things are going in China. As of March 8, the country’s National Health Commission is reporting a consistent decrease in number of new COVID-19 cases, and the total number of cases appears to be leveling off.

Phoenix7777. Original data provided by China’s National Health Commission ( NHC

Updated as of March 15: Note that total number of new, confirmed cases of COVID-19 in China have continued to decline (purple line). For the day of March 16, 21 new cases were recorded in China.

2. A Graph of Total Number of COVID-19 Cases Outside of China

According to worldometer, the total number of cases worldwide—outside of China—appears to have, on a linear scale, a trajectory of exponential growth. Note the upward trend line is flattened on a logarithmic graph, however, where a more macro picture is given.


Updated as of March 16: Note that between March 10 and March 16, number of worldwide cases outside of China have more than doubled, from just under 40,000, to just over 100,000.


3. A Breakdown of COVID-19 Cases by Country Outside of China

Here is a breakdown of COVID-19 cases outside of China, by country, as of March 11. Note that the white slice of the pie includes numerous countries, including Portugal, India, Iraq, Brazil, Finland, etc.


Updated as of March 16: Unfortunately, it seems worldometer no longer has a graphic breakdown of COVID-19 cases in countries outside of China. This alternative graph still gives a sense of how COVID-19 is taking off outside of China, however.


4. A Look at Number of New Cases Per Day, Worldwide

The site Coronavirus Graphics, which bases its graphs on data provided by Johns Hopkins CSSE, shows the number of new cases, worldwide, as of March 10. Note the spike and subsequent drop of cases in China, as well as the rise in cases in other areas around the world.

Coronavirus Graphs. Compiled by data provided by Johns Hopkins CSSE

Updated as of March 16: Note the number of new, daily cases outside of China has more than doubled between March 10 and March 16. From just shy of 6,000 to just shy of 14,000.

Coronavirus Graphs. Compiled by data provided by Johns Hopkins CSSE

5. COVID-19’s Death Rate Amongst Different Age Groups

Below is a look at the COVID-19 death rate broken down by age group. Note that for those between the ages of 10 and 39, the odds of dying from COVID-19 are only twice that of dying from the flu during the 2018-2019 flu season. The elderly, especially those with heart disease, diabetes, or lung disease, are most at risk.


Updated as of March 17: As of March 17, the numbers above have not changed on worldometer. Immediately below is an additional way to breakdown the death rate of COVID-19. Note that those with no preexisting conditions have a .9% death rate; the seasonal flu has a death rate of .1% in the U.S.


6. A Real-Time Graph of Worldwide COVID-19 Cases

A real-time look at how COVID-19 cases have grown worldwide according to a graphic animation created by reddit user AcesOverPacific. The data for the graphic was pulled from Github. (Make sure to hit play button, bottom left, to initiate graph.)


Update as of March 17: AcesOverPacific has not updated their interactive chart as of this writing, although there is a live counter of cases and deaths in the top 10 countries most affected by COVID-19 provided by South China Morning Post on YouTube.

7. How Early Counter Measures Could Slow COVID-19’s Spread

Max Roser, an economist at the University of Oxford and the founder of  Our World in Data, put together a graph showing the severity of an epidemic with and without early counter measures. Roser notes that “A worst-case scenario for a pandemic of COVID-19 is that the number of patients at one point in time is so large that health systems would fail to provide the required care for some of them.”

Max Roser. Made with data collected from the CDC. 

Updated as of March 17: Although there is no update for the above “flattening the curve” graph, as the concept is static, here is a current example of the social distancing phenomenon in action in Italy:

8. A Graph Detailing the Most Common COVID-19 Symptoms

Finally, for anybody feeling ill (especially those of a more advanced age), here is a list of the most common COVID-19 symptoms. The authors of the graph highlight the observation that COVID-19 rarely causes a runny nose.

Our World in Data. With data collected from the World Health Organization. 

What do you think about the way COVID-19 is spreading? Do you think these graphs and statistics provide a good glimpse at the way the disease is transmitting, or do you have other compelling data that paints a different picture? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Feature image: NIH / Coronavirus Graphs 

Trending Topics