It has been nearly a year since the first coronavirus case was reported in the Chinese city of Wuhan last December.
In recent weeks, there has been a lot of mention of countries entering a second or third wave. While there is no strict scientific definition to characterise a disease’s wave, plotting current outbreaks on a line chart can help us see whether or not a country has entered a new phase of infections or if it is still in part one of a continuous wave.
Here are four graphics that will help you understand what a third wave could look like and which countries may be currently experiencing it.
Global third wave or one big wave?
More than 55 million people are known to have been infected by COVID-19 worldwide. Some 1.3 million people have also died of the novel coronavirus, while nearly 35 million have recovered, data collated by Johns Hopkins University showed.
For many countries around the world, cases of COVID-19 are declining, while other countries are seeing significant spikes. Within each country, the pandemic is affecting different cities at different time intervals.
Taking the average number of confirmed cases around the globe, it appears to indicate the world has entered a third wave. This average is particularly influenced by trends in the United States and Europe, which collectively make up nearly half of the world’s confirmed COVID-19 cases, despite only comprising 14 percent of the global population.
The chart below shows the seven-day rolling average of new COVID-19 cases around the world with annotations highlighting visual upticks.
Which countries are experiencing a second or third wave?
The chart below shows the seven-day rolling average of new COVID-19 cases for countries around the world. To view your country, use the dropdown in the menu below.
The US, India and Brazil have emerged as the countries with the highest number of confirmed cases. By all accounts, the US has entered its third wave while India and Brazil seem to still be on one big wave.
Europe, where France reported the continent’s first case on January 24, continues to see a rise in infections, with several countries experiencing their second and third waves.
Cases in China have dwindled with the country reporting its lowest number of new coronavirus patients since January.
Iran, the first country in the Middle East to confirm the presence of the coronavirus on February 19, remains the worst hit in the region and is also experiencing a second wave.
It is important to note that confirmed cases are the number of people who have tested positive for COVID-19. Test units vary significantly across nations. If countries with low confirmed cases are not sufficiently testing or sharing their data, they may have many more undiagnosed cases.
Visual timeline of the pandemic spread
The animation below shows how coronavirus cases reached 55 million worldwide. In recent weeks, following a surge in cases, Europe has overtaken Latin America to once again become the region with the highest number of known cases around the world. The US remains the number one country despite fears of India overtaking them after the South Asian country reported huge outbreaks over the summer months.
Which countries have the most COVID-19 deaths?
The animation below shows which countries have had the most COVID-19 deaths. Latin America has lost the most number of people to coronavirus followed by Europe and the US.