On the 21st of January 2020 the World Health Organization (WHO) started releasing regular situation reports of a previously unknown virus disease that was first reported to the organisation’s country office in China on 31st December 2019. First broadly referred to as Coronavirus, the outbreak was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on 30 January. The disease is now called COVID-19 (transmitted through the SARS-CoV-2 virus) and has been characterised as a global pandemic on 11 March due to the ‘the alarming levels of spread and severity.’ As of 23 April, just over three months after the first official figures were released and almost three months since the disease was noticed on the world stage, 2,544,792 cases of the disease have been confirmed with 175,694 reported deaths.
The following map animation documents the spread of the disease during the first two months of data reporting, covering the period from 21 January to 23 April 2020. In this animation, each cartogram is shown proportional to the number of cases reported in each country. The absolute number of reported cases visualised in each map is documented in the number that is shown in the bottom left corner of the animation. Please note that loading the animation may take a moment. An enlarged version (approx. 50MB) can be viewed through the magnifier icon in the top right corner.
This cartogram maintains the same area over time, rather than grow in size. The animation shows that of reported cases, so it may reflect the places that have tests and can afford to test and choose to test, as much as the actual spread of the disease itself.
While the disease seemed contained within China over the first weeks of its existence – only few small occurrences such as in France and Germany are briefly visible – but then starts spreading towards Europe towards the end of February until two months on the cases outside China by far outweigh the ones that have been reported within China. Towards the end of the animation, nearer to the current date, the USA are growing in size quite considerably and turn into the new main hotspot of the epidemic. Growing shares of cases can also start being observed in South America and Russia.
Worldmapper.org is providing regular cartogram updates for the COVID-19 pandemic. The individual maps and situation updates can be found in chronological order in the following article:
COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease) Update: Chronology of a Pandemic.
Please contact us if you have further questions regarding collaboration or other inquiries related to this map series.