Since first being recorded in late 2019 in China, the Covid-19 coronavirus has spread around the world, and been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization.

Dozens of countries have recorded over 1,000 deaths, while case counts now stand at well over one million in some countries. However, differences in testing mean that the number of cases may be understated for some countries.

How is the disease progressing around the world?

Obviously, larger countries tend to have higher numbers both of cases and of deaths. But there are many other factors in play, such as the demographic profiles of the countries; countries with ageing populations may be hit harder because the disease is more dangerous to older people.

Case rates – which show the rate of daily cases per million people in any country – show how many European countries faced new highs in infection during the winter.

The disease has caused tens of thousands of deaths in many countries, hitting the US, Brazil, India, Mexico and the UK with particular cruelty in terms of total deaths.

And while most countries experienced the first wave of infections in a similar fashion, albeit at different times, new variants are – for now – changing the way different areas are suffering from further waves.

Is the world rolling out the vaccine fast enough?

At last in December 2020, a number of countries began to approve vaccines and begin vaccination programmes.

Many countries rolled out their vaccine programmes in earnest through January, although concerns have been raised over the availability of vaccines in developing nations.

Johns Hopkins University publishes cases and deaths data for most countries in the world (a notable exception being North Korea, which claims to have had none). But JHU concedes that it collects data from many sources, some of which disagree with each other. Even where the collection is less contentious there are significant differences in the ways countries test, and in the way they report cases and deaths. Belgium, for instance, attributes deaths to Covid-19 if the disease is a suspected cause, even if no test has been carried out.

Cases and case rates by country

Deaths and death rates by country

Due to the unprecedented and ongoing nature of the coronavirus outbreak, this article is being regularly updated to ensure that it reflects the current situation at the date of publication. Any significant corrections made to this or previous versions of the article will continue to be footnoted in line with Guardian editorial policy.

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