A global effort to vaccinate people against Covid-19 is underway – with much of Europe tightening restrictions as a second wave of the virus has taken hold.
The New Statesman has launched this page to track the progress of different countries as they seek to protect their populations from the pandemic. It will be updated daily as new data is released.
On top of vaccination data, we have gathered statistics on how well testing systems are holding up (the test positivity rate), as well as collecting in one place the number of hospitalisations, cases and deaths for as many countries as we can.
Combined, the progress on vaccines and the level of the disease should give an idea of where different countries are heading; are we in for a long period of restrictions, or progressing towards a level of freedom from the virus?
International vaccine rates
The live map below shows how many doses have been injected for every 100 people in each country. Most vaccination types require two doses to be effective.
Using the toggle in the top left, you can change the view to look at the raw number of doses, as well as to see how much each nation has invested in the development of vaccines.
Which type of Covid-19 vaccine am I going to get?
Different countries have ordered varying quantities of vaccines from a range of medical companies. These include the Pfizer / BioNtech jabs, Astrazeneca / Oxford University (currently approved for emergency use in the UK), the Russian Sputnik V vaccine from the Gamaleya Research Institute, and vaccines from the Chinese companies Sinovac and Sinopharm.
Where are the new variants spreading?
One of the largest concerns currently is how the virus is mutating. Throughout the pandemic, the virus has mutated a number of times, creating new strains. Most of these mutations are harmless, doing nothing to change the seriousness of the virus. However some concerning variants have arisen in the UK, South Africa and Brazil — raising worries of increased transmissibility or reduced vaccine effectiveness.
Which countries are better at testing?
The test positivity rate measures the percentage of tests that return as positive. It can tell us two things: the overall size of the outbreak in each country, and how comprehensively different testing systems are coping with the number of new cases. The higher the number, the larger the outbreak; the lower this number, the more confident we can be that the testing system is catching most of the cases.
A good analogy is fishing: if you are constantly filling your net when you bring it up, you know it is likely there are far more fish out there that you are missing. But if you cast your net wide and only catch a couple of fish, you know there probably aren’t many others out there.
How many people are in hospital with coronavirus?
The European Centre for Disease Control publishes daily hospital occupancy rates for a selection of European countries. We have added in several other countries around the world from a variety of different sources where we can find them.
The number of people hospitalised with the disease is a good way of tracking the epidemic over time, as it doesn’t rely as much on testing and the way of measuring has generally remained constant over the pandemic.
It is also key to easing restrictions, as many countries will only do so once they are sure their health systems will not be overwhelmed.
How many people have died from Covid-19?
The most important metric is the number of people that have died from Coronavirus. Different countries have different ways of measuring deaths – some, like the UK, only include deaths in their daily figures when someone has tested positive from the virus and died within 28 days. Other countries don’t have a time-limitation in their reported deaths, and some, such as Belgium, include deaths where coronavirus was suspected.
One way of comparing different countries’ death tolls from Covid-19 is to look at the number of people who have died above and beyond what we would expect in a usual year. This measure is called ‘excess deaths’ – and while it may include people that have died from causes other than direct Covid-19, it offers a chance to compare different countries using the same metric.
There are also disparities between the number of cases recorded in each country – in large part due to differences in testing. The graph below is therefore best for comparing the direction countries are heading in, rather than the differences between them.
You can view the figures raw, or compared to population, in order to take into account the different sizes of each country.