Coronavirus data story tracks hot spots around the world and in the US

Analyst used Microsoft's Power BI and public data to visualize the rise and fall of the coronavirus country by country and state by state.

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A new coronavirus tracker illustrates the spread of the illness around the world and which countries are flattening the curve the fastest. 

Joe Thomas, the data strategy director at Pactera EDGE, said he built the COVID-19 Data Story
to help people make decisions for themselves and better understand the coronavirus epidemic .

"We wanted to help people look at data and understand why just because a certain number drops, we are not out of the woods yet," he said. 

Thomas built the interactive dashboard with Microsoft Power BI using data sources from Our World in Data and Worldometers. The tracker has seven pages of analysis, including:

  • Facts and figures at a glance
  • World data flat analysis with total population, infection rate, and death rate
  • Progress of cases and deaths by country
  • Progression analysis by country
  • Flatten the curve analysis
  • Case progression by US state
  • Timeline of virus activity by US state

Thomas said that he wanted to create a more interactive coronavirus dashboard to put the numbers of cases and deaths in context. 

"I wanted to help people understand what all the numbers mean and to include an overall population component as well," he said.

SEE: Coronavirus: Critical IT policies and tools every business needs (TechRepublic Premium)

The Flatten the Curve report shows how the daily rate of infection has changed over time in 15 countries. There is a graph of new cases and a chart with data on each country's total cases, the day with the highest number of new cases, an average of new cases over the last five days, and the variance between the two numbers. This shows when a country's growth rate in coronavirus cases starts to go up or down. This change reflects the effectiveness of social distancing and other measures designed to control the spread of the disease.

Thomas said this analysis shows a sign of hope for the US. On April 5, the US reported 34,300 new cases of the coronavirus but on April 6, authorities reported only 25,400 cases.

"For the first time in the last two days, the number of new cases have fallen which means that social distancing and other measures are beginning to work," he said. "This shows which countries are able to flatten the curve datawise and which aren't."

The same analysis also provides a warning sign from Italy for the US. Cases dropped from 6,230 on March 15 to 3,526 on March 18 but then jumped to 6,657 on March 22. The chart continues on a jagged, up-and-down line from that point with cases dropping to 4,300 on April 5.

The same progression analysis for each US state can help business and government leaders understand how the coronavirus epidemic is playing out in each state. 

This dashboard is interactive and allows the user to change the time frame for a chart and to view data by individual countries and states.

Thomas said that the flat analysis page was added in response to user requests. This page of the tracker allows the user to sort the data for countries around the world by:

  • Total cases
  • Total deaths
  • A country's percentage of the world population
  • Infection rate
  • Death rate

For example, the US has only 4.37% of the world's population but has the most total cases and a mortality rate of 2.86%. The analysis is updated at 9 pm Pacific daily.

Thomas said it took him about a week to build the dashboard. The dashboard is best viewed in Chrome or Edge. 

Also see

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A new coronavirus tracker illustrates the spread of the illness around the world and which countries are flattening the curve the fastest. 

Image: COVID-19 Data Story