Mapping the worldwide spread of the coronavirus

The coronavirus is on the cusp of having killed at least 5 million people since it first emerged in Wuhan, China, in late 2019, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Nearly a quarter billion cases of the coronavirus have been reported. Global health experts have warned that the coronavirus pandemic will continue despite the introduction of vaccines.

“With almost 50,000 deaths a week, the pandemic is far from over — and that’s just the reported deaths,” World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at the World Health Summit in Berlin on Oct. 24.

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New daily reported cases across the world

At least 245,794,358 have been reported since Feb. 29, 2020.

Data anomalies:

To prevent distorting the overall daily trends, these days’ full values are not shown on this chart or included in daily averages.

[A detailed look at the virus’s spread through U.S. counties and states]

Doses of covid-19 vaccines administered per 100,000 residents

Vaccines have blunted the worst impact of the pandemic in many countries, though their distribution has been marked by inequities that has meant they have not stopped the virus’s spread.

[Why Africa is perilously far behind on coronavirus vaccination]

China leads the world in the number of vaccine doses administered, though some other nations have vaccinated a greater share of their population. Numerous vaccines have been developed at an incredible rate and are being rolled out with impressive effectiveness.

Billions of doses have been administered around the world, far more than the number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic — though a large number of cases were probably never recorded, experts caution.

However, the global vaccine supply has been limited and there have been pockets of resistance in some countries. Covax was a World Health Organization program that distributed vaccines fairly. However, it only recently began distribution to countries with low income.

Doses of covid-19 vaccines administered
per 100,000 residents

Reported doses administered per day

“I can’t say it’s surprising,” said Thomas J. Bollyky, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, earlier this year. “In every previous pandemic where we have our global health crisis, where there has been limited supplies of medical intervention, wealthy nations have hoarded.”

Where the virus is surging

How the U.S. compares to other regions

The United States continues to have the highest cumulative number of confirmed cases and deaths globally. In early October, the U.S. death toll from covid-19, the disease caused by the virus, surpassed 700,000, despite the widespread availability of vaccines in the country.

Behind the United States, Brazil, India, Mexico and Russia have the largest cumulative numbers of cases.

India’s record-setting surge in spring 2021 meant that the country accounted then for about 1 in 3 of all new confirmed cases. Complacency, the lifting of restrictions and the spreading of variants were all to blame for the spike. The country’s health care system was overwhelmed by oxygen shortages. Even after the surge in new cases subsided in mid-May, India still set records for the number of new daily deaths, with more than 4,500 deaths from covid-19 reported in a single 24-hour period. The spread of the virus in India was blamed, like in Brazil and Britain, on the rapid-spreading variants that are rampant throughout the country.

Delta, also known as B.1. 617.2, has become the dominant variant in many parts of the world. The variant is more virulent than many others and studies have shown that vaccines do not provide the same levels of protection against it, though they do still significantly reduce the likelihood of serious illness.

Some countries have had success in controlling this virus, but it comes at a cost.

In New Zealand, which closed its borders and ordered people to stay home as a first wave hit in the spring of 2020, confirmed that infections went down to zero for a time. Experts attribute the fact that their outbreaks have been much smaller in Taiwan and Singapore than elsewhere around the globe to their prompt responses and advanced tracking and tracing.

China, the early epicenter of the crisis, has seen much of daily life return to normal. It reported the highest number of cases in the first months of the epidemic than any other country. Its tally of new infections peaked in mid-February of 2020 and approached zero by mid-March of that year, although questions surround the accuracy of its data. But maintaining the “zero coronavirus” policy for nearly two years has been difficult. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said this month that the country would phase out its pursuit of zero coronavirus cases and instead manage the spread of the virus through vaccines and “everyday public health measures” to keep residents safe.

“The Chinese government is keeping a close eye on what is happening overseas to work out whether giving up a ‘zero covid’ policy requires accepting a spike in cases,” Huang Yanzhong, a senior fellow for global public health at the Council on Foreign Relations, told The Washington Post in October. “That prospect is not acceptable for China.”

Global hot spots for reported
Cases
per capita

7-day rolling average of daily new reported cases per 100,000 residents

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Note: Only countries with a population of more than 1 million are shown.

Countries that have successfully rolled out vaccines are also seeing gains. The distribution of vaccines has been a success in Britain, which is one of the most severely affected countries. When Pfizer’s vaccine was first distributed to the public, it became the country that had the first fully-tested vaccine.

Data released by Public Health England in March suggested that vaccinations had saved over 6,000 lives among people over 70, if not more.

Compare countries by new daily reported cases per 100k

At least have been reported since Feb. 29, 2020.

At least have been reported since Feb. 29, 2020.

Case and death counts by country

[What you need to know about coronavirus]

But vaccinations have not ended the pandemic in Britain. The number of cases has risen in Britain since July when the government removed its remaining restrictions. This despite the high level of vaccinations across the country. Scientists have speculated that the doses given in spring may be affecting immunity.

Though the WHO has officially called for a moratorium on “booster” shots for those already fully vaccinated, many nations around the world have begun rolling out the shots as official policy for at least part of their population — including the United States. The new high-income demand for vaccines and booster shots for children has increased the supply competition, sometimes leaving lower- and mid-income countries further behind. Covax, a WHO-sponsored effort to vaccine children has faced funding and supply problems.

Only five African countries out of 54 are expected to hit the target of vaccinating 40 percent of their population by the end of the year, according to data from the WHO. Experts warn that the spreading of the virus to countries without adequate vaccine protection could result in more variants and prolongation of the pandemic.

“Vaccine inequity is not just holding the poorest countries back — it is holding the world back,” Henrietta Fore, executive director of UNICEF, said in a statement released Oct. 27.

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