Looking At Data

The mathematical models are not the only way to make sense of the progress of the pandemic. Raw numbers can tell us a lot too. This is my favorite “how are we doing” set of charts. They can display active cases, confirmed cases, new cases/day, deaths, deaths/day, and recovered, for countries or US states and territories, in linear or log scale, raw or normalized for population. And now they have data by counties, too.  Sometimes I just take a quick look, other times, I look for a specific place or parameter, or just more detail. The data come from the Johns Hopkins coronavirus project.

The US is ahead of most countries in confirmed cases (noon, April 8),

Covid cases per country 200408

while New Mexico is in the lower half of the pack. I’ve chosen a raw plot and a normalized plot, to show you what’s available.

Covid NM 200408

The Johns Hopkins dashboard is also a good place to get a quick look at the numbers. Again, you can drill down in various ways.

Kevin Drum is posting numbers of deaths for seven European countries, the United States, and Canada. His source is the Johns Hopkins data. It’s another way to get a quick status report. Here is the April 8 report.


If you want to do some tracking of your own, Martin offered simple ways to do it in two posts (one, two) at Balloon Juice.

There are other compilations of data. I recommend that you choose the one you like and stick with it. They have different ways of collecting the data, so switching back and forth may be confusing.

I should say here that all of the data have limitations, all are subject to their own types of error. It’s more important to look at trends than specific numbers.

Here’s a simple explanation of models, a little different than what I’ve been saying.

Cross-posted at Balloon Juice


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s