By Bernard Choi, PhD
Senior Research Scientist
Public Health Agency of Canada
(AMNET founder member since 2003)
The Fact: It is a new data visualization tool that allows you to compare rising coronavirus cases country by country on the same time scale — creating a revealing juxtaposition of various outbreaks around the world.
The tool lets you compare various countries' coronavirus outbreaks on the same time scale, starting from the first day each country reported a case, or any number of cases you select, say 100, as your starting point.
The tool — created by data scientists Joe Brew, Ben Brew, and Xing Brew — uses data from Johns Hopkins to compare how case totals have risen over time in different countries.
You can select the countries you want to compare.
Examples: Below are four graphs created using several countries as an example:
In Graph 1, you can see that Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica and Ecuador are moving in the same direction, at least in this initial phase. On March 20, 2020, Colombia (brown line, its Day 14 since first case was reported) surpassed Brazil, Ecuador, Argentina and Costa Rica in their historical trend of cases. On 2020-03-20, Ecuador (pink line, its Day 19) surpassed Brazil (green line, its Day 19). Things are not looking good because this graph is in log scale, so although they seem like straight lines, they are in fact exponential growths. You want your country curve to look like China and South Korea (Graph 2) and change the rapidly rising trend to a horizontal flat line as soon as possible. China took 24 days, and South Korea took 48 days. China has now returned mostly to normal with very few new cases. China (except Wuhan) will lift lockdown on April 1, 2020, after 55 days of lockdown, while Wuhan will lift lockdown on April 8, after 76 days of lockdown.
Graph 1. Total number of COVID-19 cases, log scale, in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica and Ecuador since first case was reported.
Graph 2. Total number of COVID-19 cases, log scale, in China and South Korea since first case was reported.
In Graph 3, you see daily number of new cases growing fast in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica and Ecuador. You see the exponential growth because this graph is in linear scale. You want your country’s daily new cases to come down as soon as possible, like China and South Korea (Graph 4). The turning point in China took 24 days, and South Korea took 48 days. There is no turning point if there is no intervention (e.g. social and physical distancing, lockdown, COVID testing). The daily new cases will just keep increasing exponentially. The earlier the intervention, the fewer the cases, and the less the pressure on the healthcare system – this is the flatten the curve concept (Please see AMNET Informe especial, COVID-19 Newsletter 1, Marzo 20, 2020).
Graph 3. Daily number of new COVID-19 cases, linear scale, in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica and Ecuador since first case was reported.
Graph 4. Daily number of new COVID-19 cases, linear scale, in China and South Korea since first case was reported.
Conclusion: COVID-19 is a pandemic. The window to flatten the curve is closing. Every day counts. Don’t wait, implement interventions, today!
Disclaimer: Views in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the official views of any organizations or governments.
Source: An interactive tool lets you compare rising coronavirus case totals country by country, starting at 'day zero' of each outbreak