50 charts showing the scale of COVID-19
50 charts showing the scale of COVID-19
Over 44 million people have contracted the novel coronavirus as of Oct. 28, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. About 1.2 million have died.
As this pandemic rages across the globe and irrevocably changes more and more lives, its impact becomes increasingly difficult to visualize: 1.2 million deaths—that’s about half the population of Houston, Texas. That’s 11 million people left in mourning, according to Kaiser Health News—greater than the populations of New York City and Chicago combined. Still, even making these abstract comparisons minimizes the importance of each life lost, each person left disabled by long-term COVID-19 complications, and each person who lost work or income during the pandemic.
Stacker compiled 50 charts that attempt to capture the scope of lives impacted by COVID-19. Some charts visualize global impacts, but most focus on the U.S. Sources include the COVID Tracking Project at The Atlantic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Tableau Public’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Viz Gallery, and custom charts made by Stacker specifically for this story.
Read on to see how COVID-19 has impacted different nations, industries, and communities.
Editor's note: Betsy Ladyzhets, a research associate at Stacker who worked on this story, volunteers for the COVID-19 Tracking Project.
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Current global COVID-19 cases
As of Oct. 28, the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center reports 44.4 million COVID-19 cases and 1.2 million deaths worldwide. Johns Hopkins' data are collected from a variety of government sources at national and regional levels.
Tracking COVID-19 worldwide
The U.S. has contributed the most to the global case count out of all nations, with 8.8 million cases as of Oct. 28. India, Brazil, and Russia are the next three biggest contributors.
Global cases per million people
- Source: Our World in Data
While the East Asian countries that saw COVID-19 spikes in the winter have largely controlled their outbreaks, the U.S. and many European countries are now seeing fall spikes. The European Union reported 340 new COVID-19 cases per million people on Oct. 27.
Global case fatality rate
- Source: Our World in Data
The case fatality rate measures the share of people diagnosed with COVID-19 who die due to the disease. This rate has fallen in many countries as health care systems learn how to treat COVID-19.
Impact in China
- Source: Our World in Data
SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, originated in China. The nation saw its first case in November 2019 and the peak of its outbreak in February 2020.
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Impact in Italy
- Source: Filippo Mastroianni
Italy made headlines in February and March when hospitals filled and the country entered intense lockdowns. Cases are surging again in the nation this fall.
US cases by day
The U.S. has seen three major surges of COVID-19 cases so far: the Northeast in the spring, the South and West in the summer, and now the Midwest in the fall (along with smaller surges in other regions). The nation hit a record 83,000 reported cases in one day on Oct. 23.
US hospitalizations by day
COVID-19 hospitalizations are closely tracked by many public health experts as an indicator of how well-equipped local health care systems are to respond to new patients. The COVID Tracking Project collects these values from state public health departments.
US deaths by day
Unlike other nations that have flattened their COVID-19 curves, the U.S. is still seeing new cases and deaths every day. Between 700 and 1,000 Americans have died of COVID-19 every day since mid-July.
Segmenting America's cases by region makes it possible to compare outbreaks in different areas. The fall outbreak in the Midwest recently passed both the winter outbreak in the Northeast and the summer outbreak in the South, when cases are adjusted by population.
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Deaths by state by day
- Source: Peter Walker via Public Relay
This heat map shows how America's COVID-19 outbreak has shifted across the country: Darker colors represent higher death rates.
COVID vulnerability by county
- Source: Surgo Foundation
The Surgo Foundation's COVID-19 Community Vulnerability Index demonstrates which counties have less capacity to mitigate, treat, and ultimately recover from the pandemic. The index builds upon social vulnerability metrics with health care system and epidemiology metrics specifically tailored to address COVID-19.
Conditions associated with COVID-19 deaths
Comorbidities, or additional medical conditions that are present in COVID-19 patients when they pass away, are used by public health researchers to identify which Americans may be at higher risk if they contract COVID-19. Some of these conditions, such as hypertension and diabetes, may be underlying conditions that contribute to worse COVID-19 outcomes, while others, such as pneumonia and sepsis, may be directly caused by COVID-19.
Burden on seniors
- Source: KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation)
A Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) analysis of the CDC Provisional COVID-19 Death Counts as of July 22 found that 80% of all COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. were among Americans aged 65 and older. In some states, this figure rises above 90%.
Infection and mortality by race and ethnicity
In the U.S., the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted people of color. Members of marginalized communities are more likely to work in essential jobs, lack access to health care, and face other disparities that increase their vulnerability to COVID-19.
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Health care worker deaths
- Source: KHN/The Guardian
As of Oct. 28, the Guardian and KHN are investigating the deaths of 1,336 health care workers. These frontline workers include doctors, nurses, first responders, social workers, and support staff.
Test positivity rates
A region's test positivity rate, or its positive tests divided by the total tests conducted in the region, is a crucial metric for determining whether the region is doing enough testing to contain its COVID-19 outbreak. However, test positivity rate comparisons across different U.S. states or counties should be taken with a grain of salt: different regions track their tests in different units, making it difficult to standardize this metric across the country.
Failure to meet testing targets
- Source: Harvard Global Health Institute
According to the Brown University School of Public Health and the Harvard Global Health Institute, the majority of U.S. states are not meeting their testing targets. These public health experts recommend that states conduct at least 331 tests per 100,000 people and maintain a 5% positivity rate in order to comprehensively identify COVID-19 cases and contain outbreaks.
Failure to meet tracing targets
- Source: Test and Trace
The majority of U.S. states are also not successfully contact tracing, or calling the contacts of people who test positive for COVID-19 and helping them navigate safety measures. As of Oct. 28, only New York State has planned to hire enough contact tracers to meet the state's current case demand.
Excess deaths around the world
- Source: The Economist
Excess deaths are calculated by comparing the death rate in a particular year to the average death rate in that same region during previous years. Calculating these rates for countries in Europe, North America, and South America reveals how the pandemic has drastically impacted many nations beyond deaths directly attributed to COVID-19. Italy saw over 1,700 excess deaths per 100,000 people from March to October.
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Excess deaths in the US
This chart shows excess death rates for 29 out of 50 states and the District of Columbia. New York saw over 300 excess deaths per 100,000 people from March to October; the state is split into New York City and the rest of the state by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Excess deaths in New York City
In the spring, New York City represented the center of America's outbreak. The city saw a peak of nearly 7,000 excess deaths in one week with 4,800 of those deaths connected to COVID-19, according to the CDC's estimates.
Compare COVID-19 deaths to metro areas
As of Oct. 28, over 220,000 Americans have died from COVID-19. This is equivalent to about four times the population of the metro area of Fairmont, West Virginia or three times the population of the metro area Sandusky, Ohio.
Compare COVID-19 to top causes of death
COVID-19 is on track to become the top cause of death in the U.S. by the end of 2020. Atherosclerotic heart disease, the top cause in previous years, caused an average of 190,000 deaths each year from 1999 to 2018.
Experienced loss of income
- Source: U.S. Census Household Pulse Survey
About 50% of Americans have experienced loss of their employment income during COVID-19, according to a Census survey conducted in July. The states with the highest share of population impacted are Nevada, California, and New York.
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Unemployment rates by county
- Source: Recovery Decision Science via BLS
The consulting agency Recovery Decision Science used data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to demonstrate how COVID-19 has hit employment numbers in some counties harder than others. Imperial County, California is near the top, with a 22% unemployment rate in August.
Unemployment rates by industry
- Source: Recovery Decision Science via BLS
Leisure and hospitality, transportation and utilities, and mining/oil and gas extraction have been the hardest-hit industries in the U.S., with unemployment rates at or above 10%, but all segments of the economy have seen downturns during the COVID-19 pandemic.
US government deficit
- Source: Bipartisan Policy Center
The U.S. deficit shot up from $744 billion in March to its current value, $3.131 trillion. This chart shows cumulative deficits over the course of the fiscal year, which begins in October.
Through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), thousands of businesses across the country received a total of $515 billion in loans to help them survive the COVID-19 pandemic. Top industries that benefited include health care, professional and technical services, and construction.
Delayed medical care
- Source: U.S. Census Household Pulse Survey
According to the Census' Household Pulse Survey, 36% of Americans delayed nonessential medical procedures due to COVID-19 between March and July. This figure rises above 40% in Maine, Oregon, and Washington D.C.
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Hospital beds per population
Health care availability varies widely across the country, from rural regions with over 50 hospital beds available per 100,000 population to denser regions that have less space. But a map like this doesn't tell the full story: the Dakotas and other Midwestern states are currently seeing surges in COVID-19 patients for which the rural hospitals in this region were ill-prepared.
School closures due to COVID-19
- Source: UNICEF
According to UNICEF, over 520 million children worldwide have been impacted by school closures during the COVID-19 pandemic, as of Oct. 9. In some countries such as Brazil, Mexico, and India, schools have entirely shut down.
- Source: Stout
Stout, a global advisory firm, has compiled estimates of the renting households unable to pay rent and at risk of eviction in every state based on the U.S. Census’ American Community Survey and Household Pulse Survey. The firm estimates that between 11.8 million and 13.9 million households are at risk nationwide as of Oct. 12.
Layoffs in tech startups
- Source: Evgeny Klochkov via Layoffs.fyi
Tech startups across the country have laid off about 77,000 workers between March 11 and Sept. 29, according to reports compiled by the Layoffs.fyi tracker. The most heavily impacted industries are transportation, travel, and finance.
- Source: Ross Paulson via United Airlines
The airline industry has been one of the hardest-hit by the pandemic. United Airlines alone has grounded or parked nearly half of its fleet as of Oct. 28, even though lockdowns have lifted in most of the country.
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- Source: AirDNA (from Airbnb)
Data from Airbnb show that, months into the global pandemic, many people are continuing to avoid traveling for vacation. Airbnb rentals decreased from August to September in parts of Europe, Australia, Brazil, and the U.S., as nations see fall outbreaks.
Global COVID-19 fact-checks
- Source: Poynter/Coronavirus Facts Network
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an infodemic, or information epidemic, in which internet platforms and social media are being used to spread misinformation on a massive scale. The Coronavirus Facts Network has logged thousands of fact-checks in response to this misinformation; the top countries represented are India (with 1,800 fact-checks) and the U.S. (with 1,000).
Misinformation on Reddit
Although misinformation has run rampant on many platforms, Reddit is one major source for false or misleading claims. The MITRE Corporation, an American nonprofit that manages federal research and development centers, had identified over 880,000 suspicious claims tagged with the term "coronavirus" by April 7, as well as thousands more claims with other related tags, such as "Wuhan flu" and "China flu."
- Source: Covid-19 Settings Database
A superspreader event is an instance in which many COVID-19 cases are connected to a single person or location. A group of volunteers has compiled reports of over 1,500 such events, including hundreds in U.S. prisons, nursing homes, and meat processing plants—all common locations for superspreading events.
Deaths in long-term care facilities
Although a tiny fraction (less than 1%) of America's population lives in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and other forms of long-term care (LTC) facilities, these facilities account for 41% of U.S. COVID-19 deaths as of Oct. 22, according to the COVID Tracking Project. The percentage rises to 81% in New Hampshire and 76% in North Dakota, which is currently facing a major outbreak; South Dakota does not report LTC data.
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Cases in prisons
- Source: The Marshall Project
Prisons and jails also represent many major COVID-19 outbreak sites in the U.S., as it is difficult to enforce public health protocols and ensure quality health care in these settings. The Marshall Project, in partnership with the Associated Press, has recorded 152,955 cases and 1,276 deaths in prisons as of Oct. 23. Texas, Florida, and California have seen the most cases.
Outbreaks in the food system
The Food & Environment Reporting Network (FERN) has recorded COVID-19 cases in 1,179 meatpacking and food processing plants and 262 farms and production facilities as of Oct. 29. The outbreaks include over 72,000 cases and over 300 deaths.
Cases in US schools
School reopening has become a major topic of debate across the country, as teachers, parents, and experts weigh the risks of COVID-19 spread across the long-term health impacts for children who lack the resources or support for remote learning. The National Education Association and The New York Times have reported over 200,000 cases in schools between July 16 and Oct. 27, but without testing or enrollment numbers for comparison, it is difficult to determine the impact that school reopening has had on communities.
Outbreaks in colleges and universities
- Source: College Covid-19 Outbreak Watchlist
Benjy Renton's College Covid-19 Outbreak Watchlist determines at-risk schools based on their reported cases on a weekly basis. "Green" schools have reported less than 30 cases in the last seven days; "yellow" schools have reported 30 to 99 cases; "orange" schools have reported 100 to 199 cases; and "red" schools have reported over 200 cases. This dashboard has tracked over 110,000 cases as of Oct. 23.
Cases linked to the White House
- Source: COVID-19 at the White House
When President Trump and other members of his staff tested positive for COVID-19 in early October, national public health agencies did not contact trace the outbreak. Volunteers Peter Walker, Benjy Renton, and Jesse O’Shea, MD, stepped in to compile news reports of testing and cases around the White House outbreak and share them with the public.
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COVID-19 tests receiving EUA
- Source: U.S. Food & Drug Administration
Since the COVID-19 outbreak reached the U.S., hundreds of COVID-19 tests—including DNA-based tests, antibody tests, and antigen tests—have received Emergency Use Authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This authorization does not constitute a full FDA approval, but rather indicates that the products may be distributed during an emergency setting. The first COVID-19 test to receive the authorization was the CDC's COVID-19 test.
The CDC compiles forecasts of new reported COVID-19 cases and deaths from 29 different modeling groups. The disease has proven difficult to model due to its ability to spread seemingly at random; some people infected with the coronavirus may pass it on to a hundred others, while others may not pass it to anyone new at all.
A new study published in Nature Medicine by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation COVID-19 Forecasting Team predicts that the U.S. could see over 500,000 lives lost to the disease by February 2021. The study also found, however, that universal mask use (defined as 95% mask use in public spaces) could save about 130,000 lives from September to February.
Current state of COVID-19 in the US
- Source: COVID Exit Strategy
COVID Exit Strategy represents a group of public health and crisis experts who have determined key criteria, such as new case rates and testing, which states should satisfy before they can safely resume normal business operations. As of Oct. 28, only Maine is marked as "Trending Better" (green) and only Hawaii, Vermont, and New Hampshire are marked as "Caution Warranted" (yellow) by this group; all other states are marked as "Trending Poorly" (bright red) or "Uncontrolled Spread" (deep red).
COVID-19 risk by county
- Source: Harvard Global Health Institute et al.
A group of public health researchers led by the Harvard Global Health Institute has built a dashboard that shows COVID-19 risk by U.S. state, county, and congressional district, based on each region's daily new cases per 100,000 population. As of Oct. 27, as Thanksgiving approaches, most U.S. counties are approaching higher-risk levels, with the Midwest at the top of the scale.
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