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The coronavirus graphic to watch: US adds 20,000 cases, Italy's rate stable

Covid graph 29 Mar night Italy by GC
By Jon Hay
03.00 AM

UPDATED 30 March 4am GMT Coronavirus cases in the US continue to mount at an alarming rate: 19,300 on Saturday, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Our graphics now show the latest daily figure, set against the averages of each of the three preceding three day periods (10 days in all). There are encouraging signs in Italy, where there has been a patch of stability in the number of new cases.

Over the past 10 days, the average daily new cases in Italy has been roughly the same, between 5,000 and 6,000. This is still a very high rate and it could rise again, but it suggests that quarantine measures may be helping.

In all the other countries with the highest caseloads, there is no sustained improvement yet. The situation in the US and UK is deteriorating fast. The US's latest figure is 18% higher than the average of the previous three days. In the UK, the same figure is 14%.

Belgium, Norway and Sweden, which at times have seemed to be slowing the spread of the disease, have all suffered renewed surges, and even in Japan there were 194 new cases on Saturday, four times the average rate a week ago.

The infection is unfortunately now accelerating in India, with 255 new cases on Saturday.

Data updated with help from Johan Lai

New confirmed daily cases

Covid graph 29 Mar night Italy by GC

Covid graph 29 Mar night UK by GC

Covid graph 29 Mar night Norway by GC

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, 2.5%. The death rates in Korea are 1.4% of all cases and 3.1% of resolved cases - those that have ended in either recovery or death.

In the US, by contrast, 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 1.5%, 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.

Total tests Total casesTotal deathsTotal curedCases as % of tests Deaths as % of casesDeaths as % of resolved cases (deaths+cured)
South Korea  364,942 9,2411314,1442.51.43.1
US 103.230 68,44099468175.11.559.3

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
03.00 AM