October 22, 2020

Coronavirus pandemic: Tracking the global outbreak

Social distancing circles seen from above in GermanyImage copyright Getty Images

Coronavirus is continuing its spread across the world, with almost 13 million confirmed cases in 188 countries. Around 570,000 people have lost their lives.

This series of maps and charts tracks the global spread of the virus.

Where are coronavirus cases and deaths still rising?

The virus, which causes the respiratory infection Covid-19, was first detected in the city of Wuhan, China, in late 2019.

It then spread quickly across the globe in the first months of 2020, reaching 12 million confirmed cases in early July.

Europe and North America saw the first major outbreaks in April but as they began to ease, Latin America and Asia started seeing an increase in cases.

North America has seen a resurgence of infections in recent weeks, mostly driven by new outbreaks in the US.

World Health Organization (WH) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has warned that in most of the world, the virus is not under control and is “getting worse”.

The head of the Pan American Health Organization, Dr Carissa Etienne says there is no doubt Central and South America have become the epicentre of the pandemic.

She says coronavirus is spreading “exponentially” in many areas of the region and the peak of the crisis could be some weeks away.

Brazil has been the worst-hit so far with a death toll of more than 72,000. Mexico now has the world’s fourth largest death toll with more than 35,000 deaths from almost 300,000 confirmed cases.

Colombia has announced it is extending its nationwide lockdown by more than two weeks after reported cases and deaths accelerated in several cities.

India now has more almost 850,000 confirmed cases, the third highest number in the world, and saw its biggest spike on Saturday with over 27,000 cases reported in 24 hours.

The current surge in cases comes despite an earlier nationwide lockdown that lasted more than two months. Nearly a dozen Indian states have now re-imposed partial lockdowns.

South Africa and Egypt have seen the largest outbreaks so far in Africa. But testing rates are reported to be extremely low in some parts of the continent so this could be distorting official estimates of how far the virus has spread.

South Africa has seen a doubling of confirmed cases over the last two weeks. The government has introduced new restrictions, including another ban on alcohol sales to take the pressure off the healthcare system.

Are any countries seeing a ‘second wave’ of cases?

Previous pandemics have unfolded in “waves” of infections, with fresh outbreaks recurring after the initial peak subsides. Health experts think Covid-19 may follow a similar pattern, but there is no firm agreement on what exactly constitutes a second wave.

Although a number of countries have seen a rise in infections after appearing to have the virus under control, they may still be in the first stages of the outbreak. And rising cases may sometimes be down to increased testing.

Iran saw a renewed surge in cases in May and June, but they have steadied in recent weeks.

There has also been a surge in cases in Israel since restrictions were eased at the end of May.

In Australia, the city of Melbourne has now begun a second lockdown after a recent spike in infections, with residents barred from leaving home for six weeks, except for essential reasons.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has banned international visitors from making the Islamic pilgrimage, or Hajj, this year in an attempt to control its outbreak.

US seeing a second surge of cases

The US is seeing record numbers of confirmed daily cases, with figures tipping over 60,000 in recent days.

Deaths were falling until recently, but have started to rise over the last week.

North Carolina, South Carolina, Oregon, Hawaii and Alaska recorded their highest daily totals for coronavirus cases on Saturday.

Florida, which has proved vulnerable due to tourism and an elderly population, has hit record daily cases twice in the last 10 days.

Dr Anthony Fauci, the country’s top health official for infectious diseases, has called for some states to consider pausing the end to their lockdowns.

The White House has said the rise in cases is a product of an uptick in US testing capacity. But Dr Fauci has warned that higher percentages of positive tests “cannot be explained by increased testing”.

So far, the US has recorded more than 3.3 million cases of the virus and over 135,000 deaths.

The University of Washington predicts the death toll could hit 175,000 by October – though it says this could be reduced to 150,000 if 95% of Americans wear masks in public.

On Saturday, US President Donald Trump wore a mask in public for the first time since the start of the pandemic.

How many cases and deaths have there been?

There have been almost 13 million confirmed cases so far and around 570,000 people have died.

Confirmed cases around the world


Group 4

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Circles show number of confirmed coronavirus cases per country.

Source: Johns Hopkins University, national public health agencies

Figures last updated 3 July 2020, 10:31 BST

Note: The map, table and animated bar chart in this page use a different source for figures for France from that used by Johns Hopkins University, which results in a slightly lower overall total. US figures do not include Puerto Rico, Guam or the US Virgin Islands.

The US accounts for about 25% of the global total of cases, according to figures collated by Johns Hopkins University. It also has the world’s highest death toll, followed by Brazil and the UK.

In China, the official death toll is some 4,600 from about 85,000 confirmed cases, although critics have questioned whether the country’s official numbers can be trusted.

Globally, the true number of cases is thought to be much higher than the reported figures, as many people with milder symptoms have not been tested and counted.

In the table below, countries can be reordered by deaths, death rate and total cases. In the coloured bars on the right-hand side, countries in which cases have risen to more than 5,000 per day are those with black bars on the relevant date.

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This information is regularly updated but may not reflect the latest totals for each country.

** The past data for new cases is a three day rolling average. Due to revisions in the number of cases, an average cannot be calculated for this date.

Source: Johns Hopkins University, national public health agencies and UN population data

Figures last updated: 13 July 2020, 09:40 BST

The outbreak was declared a global pandemic by the WHO on 11 March. A pandemic is when an infectious disease is passing easily from person to person in many parts of the world at the same time.

Globally, at least 4.5 billion people – half the world’s population – were living under social distancing measures at the height of the pandemic in Europe, according to the AFP news agency’s estimates.

Those restrictions have had a big impact on the global economy, with the International Monetary Fund warning the world faces the worst recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

The United Nations World Food Programme has also warned that the pandemic could almost double the number of people suffering acute hunger.

Europe easing lockdown restrictions

In Europe, the UK, Italy, Spain and France, along with others, have passed the peak of infections, with the number of new confirmed cases and deaths falling.

In mid-June, the EU agency that monitors infectious diseases warned that the risk of a “second wave” of infections requiring the reintroduction of lockdowns was moderate to high.

The UK has reported almost 45,000 deaths so far, the highest number in Europe.

Italy has the second highest death toll in the region with nearly 35,000, while France is on about 30,000 and Spain 28,400.

However, differences in population size and how countries report their figures, with some including deaths in care homes, or deaths of those suspected but not confirmed of having the virus, means that final international comparisons are complicated.

About this data

The data used on this page comes from a variety of sources. It includes figures collated by Johns Hopkins University, data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, national governments and health agencies, as well as UN data on populations.

When comparing figures from different countries it is important to bear in mind that not all governments are recording coronavirus cases and deaths in the same way. This makes like for like comparisons between countries difficult.

Other factors to consider include: different population sizes, the size of a country’s elderly population or whether a particular country has a large amount of its people living in densely-populated areas. In addition, countries may be in different stages of the pandemic.