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The coronavirus graphic to watch: Italy, Germany stable; US, Spain and France worsen

Covid graph 30 Mar night UK by GC
By Jon Hay
01.00 AM

UPDATED 1 April 2am GMT The encouraging trend in Italy continued on Tuesday, with 4,053 new confirmed cases, almost identical to Monday's figure, which was the lowest for 13 days. Sadly, Spain's figure of 9,222 and France's of 7,578 were new records.

The French figure is much higher than the previous biggest of 4,603 on Saturday.

In the US, the rate of new infections continues to accelerate, having reached nearly 25,000 on Tuesday, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The picture in the UK is similar, though at a lower level, with the number of new cases breaking through 3,000 for the first time on Tuesday.

Death rates (see table below) suggest that Italy, Spain and the UK have many more cases than they have been able to confirm and report.

Germany, however, appears to have done a better job of finding and testing cases. It had 4,615 new cases on Monday, similar to the day before. 

Data updated with help from Johan Lai

Main sources: national health services, World Health Organisation

New confirmed daily cases

Covid graph 31 Mar night Spain by GC

Covid graph 31 Mar night UK by GC

Covid graph 31 Mar night Nordics by GC

New cases on Mar 30
Asia Pacific1,093
South and southeast Asia131
Middle East4,020
North America18,649
Latin America2,286

The varying death rates are also significant. 

As this chart shows, South Korea, which has tested very extensively and brought down the spread of the disease, is likely to have done a good job at detecting most of the infections on its territory. Evidence for this is the low percentage of positive tests, 2.4%. The death rates in Korea are 1.6% of all cases and 2.9% of resolved cases - those that have ended in either recovery or death.

In the US, by contrast, roughly 75% of tests have been positive, suggesting that there is a great quantity of undetected cases. The death rate as a percentage of reported cases is still low at 1.7%, but this is because the outbreak is so new in the US. Soon it will rise, reflecting the fact that only the severer cases have been identified.

In Europe, Germany appears to have a track record similar to Korea's, although the disease has spread much more widely. The death rate among resolved cases is very similar to Korea's. Deaths as a share of cases is even lower, possibly because the outbreak is newer in Germany.

Italy, Spain and the UK all have much higher death rates so far, which may reflect a combination of overstretched healthcare systems and under-reporting of cases, because of under-testing.

Total tests Total casesTotal deathsTotal curedCases as % of tests Deaths as % of casesDeaths as % of resolved cases (deaths+cured)
South Korea  395,194 9,6611585,2282.41.62.9
US 183,000*140,9042,4055,644**771.730

Data as of 29 March.

*GlobalCapital estimate because data for last seven days are incomplete. Reported figure is only 133,000.

**Johns Hopkins Univ figure for 30 March 

Rationale for analysis

The coronavirus is being fought by individual countries, using their own government resources and health systems. What matters is therefore the disease's progress in each country. There is little read-across from one to another because each will have different success at controlling the disease.

The most important trend is therefore whether each country is succeeding in slowing the rate of spread of the disease. Global and regional averages are of little use, because, for example, a big decline in cases in one country could mask worsening conditions in another.

GlobalCapital has prepared these graphics, using national and World Health Organisation data. They show the number of new confirmed cases each day. We have averaged groups of days to make the trends easier to see. 

The graphs cover 19 of the countries with the most cases so far, plus India. We have included India because of its huge population and the grave risk of rapid transmission if the disease takes hold there, as it has begun to do. There are now cases in 185 countries and territories.

We will update the graphics as new information emerges.

By Jon Hay
01.00 AM