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Global COVID-19 Containment: Confirmed Cases, Updated Daily

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Global COVID Containment: Confirmed Cases, Updated Daily

Sometimes, it helps to gain a fresh perspective.

Since the pandemic began, there have been innumerable tracking resources made available online, but rarely do they paint a complete picture of a country’s containment progress.

How Much Progress Is Really Being Made

Featured above, this continuously updated chart from Our World in Data provides a more complete look at the efficacy of COVID-19 containment strategies, sorted by country.

It is a variation of the Epidemic Curve (or “epi curve”), showing confirmed COVID-19 cases per country in relation to their testing rates—what’s revealed is the strength of each country’s containment strategy.

Only a fraction of total cases–those confirmed by a test–is known. This is why we spent recent months building the database and the visualization tool to make this variation of the epidemic curve possible.

— Our World in Data

Why Look at it This Way? Adequate Benchmarking

Countries vary widely in how they monitor and report on COVID-19. Cases in this particular chart were confirmed via laboratory testing, and the data covers 66% of the globe’s population.

Depending on a country’s containment efforts, confirmed cases can differ dramatically from total cases. To get a better idea of that difference, Our World in Data looked closer at the extent of testing. As they report, the World Health Organization considers an adequate benchmark to be 10-30 tests per confirmed case. And for those countries that experience larger outbreaks, there must be more tests conducted per confirmed case.

What the COVID Test-to-Case Ratio Tells Us

  • Line Trajectory: In this chart, rising lines show that the average number of laboratory-confirmed cases has increased over time, and vice versa for falling lines. Beyond flattening the curve, the end game is to have all of those lines reach zero.
  • Blue Lines: The darker the blue line, the more likely that the line is an accurate indicator, as thousands of tests have been administered per confirmed case. The more blue lines this chart shows over time, the better for us all.
  • Red Lines: By contrast, the warmer the color of the line, the fewer tests are being administered per confirmed case, and it is less likely to be an accurate measure of COVID-19 cases. Red lines, for example, indicate that only five tests are conducted for every confirmed case, suggesting that the count is not accurate and that many cases are going unreported.

Epi Curve Scenario Examples

Consider these three scenarios in the diagram above, and hover over countries in the main visualization to compare:

  • Country A: Winning the fight against COVID-19.
    These countries, like New Zealand, have steadily increased the number of tests per confirmed case. Country A administers hundreds or thousands of tests per confirmed case. The likelihood of missed cases is far lower, most cases are accounted for, and they can confidently state they are winning the fight against COVID-19.
  • Country B: A severe, prolonged outbreak.
    In comparison, countries like the U.S. have experienced a steady rise in confirmed cases. They also have lower rates of testing—only five tests per confirmed case. Country B cases are likely to be higher than the number reported, a fact that is especially concerning given that the U.S. has already surpassed the rest of the world’s countries in confirmed cases.
  • Country C: A volatile scenario.
    While confirmed cases decrease, there is much room for doubt. In Country C (South Africa for instance), confirmed cases are decreasing, but very few tests are administered. Unfortunately, this indicates there are many unrepresented cases. Country C probably has a larger problem than its downward trajectory would indicate.

Cases Per Million People

From a different angle, we can see daily new COVID-19 cases per capita. This gives us a better sense of how countries compare in terms of confirmed cases.

Countries like Thailand, New Zealand, and South Korea all show relatively low rates of COVID-19 per capita, as well as high levels of testing. Conversely, countries like Spain and Kuwait reveal high levels of confirmed cases per capita and extremely low testing rates.

Another Perspective for Good Measure

For a holistic view of testing, the map below shows us the daily number of tests for each newly confirmed COVID-19 case, based on a rolling 7-day average.

Countries like Norway, Australia, and Canada reveal strong testing-to-confirmed-case ratios. In contrast, countries like Bolivia and the Philippines reveal the probability of out-of-control outbreaks.

Due to lower levels of testing in relation to confirmed cases, countries in red are more likely to leave cases unreported.

Making Sense of the Unknown

Although charts like these allow us to look at relationships between critical variables, there are no guarantees of what will come of this outbreak or any second waves.

The only certainty right now, is uncertainty. But with visualizations like this one—updated daily—we can at least stay up-to-speed with the knowledge curve.

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Misc

Airline Incidents: How Do Boeing and Airbus Compare?

This graphic shows U.S. airline incidents across the two largest aircraft manufacturers in the world as Boeing faces increased scrutiny.

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This area chart shows airline incidents across Boeing and Airbus since 2014.

Airline Incidents: How Do Boeing and Airbus Compare?

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

For decades, the global airline manufacturing industry has been run by a duopoly, split between American titan Boeing and European manufacturer Airbus.

After years of safety issues, the American aircraft manufacturer has come under fire after a door flew off a Boeing 737 MAX 9 on an Alaska Air flight in January, which recently led its CEO to resign. This incident follows two fatal crashes of its aircraft in 2018 and 2019.

This graphic compares the number of U.S. aviation incidents between Boeing and Airbus, based on data from the National Transportation Safety Board.

A Closer Look at Airline Incidents

The U.S. stands as Boeing’s largest market, comprising 58% of annual revenues in 2023.

By contrast, North America was Airbus’s third-biggest market, making up 21% of annual revenues, following Europe and Asia. Below, we show the number of aviation incidents between the two giants since 2014 in the U.S. and international waters:

YearBoeing IncidentsAirbus Incidents
2024204
202313740
202211132
20219924
20205822
20198637
201811225
201710824
201610222
20157121
20146613

*Data for 2024 up to the end of February.

So far this year, Boeing has faced 20 incidents, with the Alaska Air flight as the most high-profile case due to missing bolts in the emergency door causing it to fly off the hinge.

One potential driver that has been identified by the company is that employee bonuses have been heavily tied to financial incentives. Prior to the incident, they accounted for 75% of annual bonuses in its commercial unit, with the remainder tied to operational targets that included safety and quality measures. Now, as the company overhauls its production process, the company is making safety and quality metrics 60% of the annual reward.

For many years, Boeing has faced safety concerns with its aircraft, leading regulators to ground its 737 MAX 8 planes for two years after a fatal crash in 2019. Making matters worse, aircraft regulators have faced sharp budget cuts since 2013, allowing manufacturers to “self-certify” their planes on safety requirements.

Yet quality issues are not exclusive to Boeing. In some of the latest deliveries for Airbus, customers have raised quality concerns along with complaints of delays. In January, for instance, an Airbus A319 plane on a United Airlines flight made an emergency landing due to a potential faulty door.

Leading up to this point, incidents for both Boeing and Airbus hit decade-highs in 2023 amid a record 16.3 million flights in America. The good news is that there were no reported fatal accidents across passenger jet aircraft in 2023. In fact, there have been no fatal crashes across U.S. airlines in almost 15 years.

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