Statistics in The Times of Corona (COVID-19)

A summary of the last months

For months now I have been trying to present the figures available on the Internet by various institutions on the extent and effects of the Corana virus on this website (klick here) in the form of statistical graphs. First, I only had the figures of the South Africa Nation and its provinces in view. At that time, at the end of April 2020, I had already noticed two things:

  1. The figures published by the South African “National Institute for Communicable Diseases” (NICD) were, and still are, figures without reference to the population in each province.

    Source: Twitter account of NICD
    Source: Twitter account of NICD
  2. Furthermore, from today's point of view, I do not think it is sufficient to analyse only the figures from South Africa. I can imagine that there are also people in South Africa who are interested in the development of the pandemic in Germany. Although I had indicated from the beginning in the article about the Corona emergency aid to the homepage of the "Robert Koch Institute" (RKI), which has a similar task in Germany as the NICD in South Africa, I doubt that its German-language dashboard with the current figures is understandable for all interested parties.


Since 23 May, in addition to the general development of the Corana case numbers, there have also been representations of the ratio of recoveries, deaths and sufferers in the provinces of Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal. These provinces have the highest infection rates in South Africa, which is certainly also related to the major cities in these provinces.

Date: 23.05.2020
Date: 23.05.2020

On June 6, 2020, I introduced a third graphic that includes the representation of infected and acutely ill people based on the number of cases per 100,000 inhabitants. Among other things, it became clear how much these values differ from the average in South Africa, both upwards and downwards. The source of the population figures in the provinces is the official homepage of the government of South Africa.

The following day, on 7 June, I supplemented this presentation with comparative figures from Germany, for the whole of Germany, for the state of Lower Saxony and the district of Osnabrück.

Here you can see:

  1. The average infection rates in the countries of South Africa and Germany are similar. If the recognizable trend continues, South Africa will achieve a higher infection rate per 100,000 inhabitants in the next few days than Germany.
  2. The land of Lower Saxony is currently comparable to the province of Gauteng in terms of infection figures per 100,000 inhabitants.
  3. The province of Eastern Cape has now "overtaken" the district of Osnabrück in terms of infection rate.

The situation for acutely ill people in both nations is completely different today:

It is clear that the rate has fallen sharply in Germany, dropping below the national average of less than 10 people per 100,000 inhabitants, while in South Africa it has risen to more than 100 people per 100,000 inhabitants. The reasons for this are manifold:

  1. The virus arrived in Germany a month earlier than in South Africa.
  2. The regulations of the two governments were similar, but not the same. In addition, they have had different effects due to the different medical care capacities and the different social legislation. In Germany, for example, no child or family had to suffer hunger when the schools were closed. Nevertheless, there have also been families in Germany whose food supply has been severely restricted, as they were not aware of state support mechanisms or were not entitled or able to apply for them.
  3. Social resistance to the restriction of personal freedoms is different. There have been demonstrations in both countries calling for the restrictions to be relaxed or lifted.
  4. Finally, in both countries, we have been "supplied" with untrue news and theories (fake news) on social media.


What about the spread of COVID-19 worldwide?

I have been increasingly interested in this question in recent weeks. There is a lot of data, but unfortunately it is not always comparable. In particular, the number of acutely ill patients is often not mentioned. They are not easy to find either in the dashboard of Johns Hopkins University in the USA, nor at the RKI in Germany or the South African NICD.

Dashboard Johns Hopkins Univertity,
Dashboard Johns Hopkins Univertity,

However, all three platforms display the current levels of the total infected people, the deceased and the people who have survived the disease and thus recovered. So I calculated these figures: the sum of the infected minus the sum of the deceased minus the sum of the recovering people is the sum of the acutely ill. These figures are available for the federal states or provinces in South Africa and Germany, but also for all countries of the world. So two new maps have been created, which I present here for the first time.

The world map with the numbers of infected in (almost) all countries of our planet
Date: 25.06.2020
Date: 25.06.2020,© EILERS-Media, 2020
The world map with the numbers of the currently ill.
Date: 25.06.2020
Date: 25.06.2020,Date: 25.06.2020,© EILERS-Media, 2020

The data of these maps were transferred by me to color values on June 25 and 26, 2020. I would like to note that the scaling is similar, but not the same. I will try to match this with the planned weekly updates.

It is interesting to note that the data are sometimes very different in relation to a single country. For example, Germany has a high rate of infected persons, but only a low rate among acutely ill people. On the other hand, the number and thus the rate of acutely ill people in the USA is still very high.

In South Africa, due to the diversity of all the figures in the provinces, there is an inconsistent development, which is in the middle of the international comparison in the national values. However, these figures are significantly influenced by the high numbers of people infected in Western Cape and the sharp increase in new infections in the provinces of Gauteng, Eastern Cape and also in KwaZulu-Natal. The significant increase in the number of infections has been particularly marked since the South African government relaxed the bans and restrictions.

In Germany, too, the number of new infections increased slightly last week, after falling steadily the month before. Scientists and, in some cases, politicians are now warning of a "second wave" of the virus. In particular, the large numbers of infections in meat processing plants show us the failures of the past with cheap labour from Eastern Europe and inhumane housing conditions of these European migrant workers. The upcoming summer holidays in Europe also pose a risk that the virus will spread again if the distance rules and the mask requirement are not adhered to.

If you have critics and suggestions for further reports you can send an e-mail to me:

Greetings to all readers – and: Stay healthy and careful!

Eckhard Eilers  EE_20200420

Please feel free to share this site with your friends and partners by using your favoured network shown below.