Meg Forbes is a mum, freelance writer, and photographer living in the Redlands, South of Brisbane.
Published June 14th 2020
A guide to navigating COVID19 data for Australians
COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus that emerged towards the end of 2019, and that has caused upheaval right around the world. The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared COVID-19 to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on 30 January 2020, and to be a pandemic on 11 March 2020.
COVID-19 Data's graph showing national new cases per day over the last month
Although Australia's approach to COVID-19 did engender some controversy, the outcome has been far fewer infections and deaths per capita than have been seen elsewhere. New cases across Australia have been below 20 each day for almost a month now, and Australia's total death toll from COVID-19 currently stands at 102. Out of a total of 7302 cases across Australia, 6812 people have now recovered.
COVID-19 Data's graph showing total cases, recoveries, and deaths across Australia from COVID-19
Across the world, however, there have been 7 849 069 cases in total with 431 555 deaths and 4 016 507 recoveries. Additionally, the WHO announced that the highest global number of COVID-19 cases for a single day (136000 cases) was recorded earlier this week on 9 June, threatening a global recession.
Worldometer's COVID-19 Dashboard showing total international cases, deaths, and recoveries
These figures may feel incongruent to many of us here in Australia. After enduring the pain of isolation during March and April, COVID-19 cases here have largely been brought under control. And ongoing border closures, quarantine periods for returned travellers, and contact tracing aim to continue to protect Australians against the devastation being wrought by the virus overseas. In 2020, however, no nation is truly an island, and events affecting the rest of the world have an impact upon us to. In such times of uncertainty, it often helps to have the most accurate data available to hand (although even this is impacted upon by each country's testing capability and health care system). The list of resources below are five of the best for supporting Australians to access the most accurate data available.
1. The Australian Government Department of Health
The Australian Government Department of Health's website now has a dedicated page with links and data relating to COVID-19. This includes "at a glance" data and graphs, total cases, recoveries, deaths, and new cases nationally over the last 24 hours and in total by state and territory, and data on how Australia compares to the rest of the world.
Australian Government Department of Health COVID-19 at a glance
2. Volunteer-run Australian website - covid19data.com.au
The volunteer-run Australian website, https://www.covid19data.com.au/, provides a wealth of data that focuses specifically on Australia and its individual states and territories. Data includes new cases, recoveries, and deaths, transmission sources nationally and by state or territory, testing data, and data on hospitalisations and admissions to ICU. Their easy to read graphs place relevant data at Australians' fingertips. As the project is run by volunteers, readers who find the information useful are able to donate to the project.
covid19data.com.au provides easy to read graphs that focus on Austrailan data
The Worldometer provides data on a wide range of international subjects, and a recent addition since the COVID19 outbreak begun has been to track total cases, new cases, recoveries, and deaths. This information is further broken down by country to include active cases, serious and critical cases, total cases per 100 million population, total tests, and total tests per 100 million population. This data is quite helpful for understanding the situation in each nation according to their population size.
The John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Centre provides a dashboard with international and national data that users can drill down into. Presented primarily in the form of a map that users can zoom in and out on, data provided here includes confirmed cases by country and region, active cases, incidence rates, testing rates, and hospitalisation rates. Linear and logarithmic graphs are also provided on the latest data.
An overview of the John Hopkins COVID-19 dashboard
In addition to the user-friendly websites and dashboards listed above, the WHO provides daily COVID-19 situation reports daily that can be found here. These include news highlights from the last 24 hours, and the current situation in numbers globally, by region, and by individual country. Each situation report also includes a surveillance map for the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases reported across the world, and a graph displaying the number of confirmed COVID-19 case by WHO region from 30 December 2019 to the current date.
The WHO's surveillance data map by country, territory, or area over the past week
There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact upon all of our lives, internationally and within Australia. Many Australians have suffered greatly through job loss, illness, and grief for loved ones as a result. However, while Australia's policies have arguably helped to bring COVID-19 under control here, many nations around the world continue to experience exponential growth in cases. The resources listed above provide insights into the most recent Australian and international data. Understanding such data can often help to mitigate some of the anxiety being felt by Australians as we learn to live in this "new normal" of the COVID-19 and post-COVID19 world.