Data Analysis | How Long Will The Coronavirus Pandemic Last?

Data Analysis | How Long Will The Coronavirus Pandemic Last?
The widespread coronavirus pandemic has shocked the world and with every passing day, curiosity compels people to watch the direction of its trend. The analysis of these trends, based on the number of fatalities and the spread of infection, can tell us whether we can finally take a sigh of relief or if the anguish will continue.

Using the data available on Worldometer, a statistical analysis is carried out to have a glance on the trends of pandemic in all continents of the world. The graphs used in this study cover three main indicators of this disease – new cases per day, total deaths and total recoveries for every day.

The reason for selection of these indicators is based on the experiences witnessed in China as described in the following chapter on Asia.

Covid-19 in Asia:

Asia is the continent where the first Covid-19 patient was officially declared by China on 10 January 2020 and by 16th March 2020 (65 days after the first incident) there were 80,866 confirmed cases of coronavirus infection in China with a loss of 3,213 persons and a death rate of 4%.

The number of persons who had recovered from infection were 67,762 and the active cases were 9,891. The number of critically sick persons was 3,226. On 9th April 2020, China reported loss of 3,335 person against the total cases of 81,865 showing a minor increase of 999 cases of infection with 122 fatalities.

Major improvement took place in the number of patients who had recovered from the disease. The number of patients recovered from this sickness was 77,370 that reflected a total recovery of 9,608 patients during the period of 17 March to 9 April 2020 (within 24 days).

During these 24 days, the rate of recovery was 1042 persons in a day against 1244 new cases per day. These 24 days reversed the trend of Covid-19 pandemic in China that reflected a recovery rate of 400 persons per day against 42 new cases of infections. The number of active cases also dropped from 9,891 on 16th March 2020 to 1160 persons on 9th April 2020 and the number of critically sick persons was reduced from 3,213 to 176 during the same period.

What it reflected was a proof that the drop in new cases combined with higher rate of recovery and lower number active and critically sick persons can be used as reliable indicators of having control on this pandemic (Refer table 001).


Table 001: Trend of Covid-19 in China
Duration # of Days Total cases Total case/Day Total Deaths Death/Day Total Recover
10 Jan - 16 Mar 2020 65 80,866 1244 3213 49 67762
17 Mar - 9 Apr 2020 24 999 42 122 5 9608
Total 89 81865 1286 3335 54 77370

Recovery/Day Active cases Active case/Day Critical cases Critical case/Day
1042 9891 152 3226 50
400 1160 48 176 7
1442 11051 200 3402 57



Soon after the emergence of Covid-19 in China, it appeared in Thailand on 12 January, Japan on 14 January, South Korea on 19 January and Taiwan on 20 January. Using precautionary and proactive measures, all these countries managed to keep this disease under control (Table 002).

Table 002:  Trend of Covid-19 in Asian countries affected soon after China
Countries Date Total cases Total Deaths Recovered Active cases Critical cases
Japan 9-Apr-20 4,667 94 632 3,941 99
S. Korea 9-Apr-20 10,423 204 6,973 3246 55
Taiwan 9-Apr-20 380 5 80 295 0
Thailand 9-Apr-20 2,423 32 940 1,451 61


However, there are still a number of countries in Asia that are suffering from this disease and on top of them are Iran, Israel, and Turkey in terms of number of cases. The overall situation of Covid-19 in Asia can be seen through the following graph. The number of new cases is showing a mixed trend of upward and downward trend while the number of total deaths has been showing a consistent upward trend with the exception of on sharp dip between 2 – 4 April.  The recoveries are also going through a similar trend that is noticeable in new cases. As on 9th April, Asia had recorded 258,784 total cases with a loss of 9824 human lives – a fatality rate of 4%. There were 123,234 active cases of Covid-19 on 9th April and the number critical cases were 6,490. At the current fatality rate of 4%, there is a probability of additional losses of 5,000 human lives if no change in new cases takes place in Asia.


Covid-19 in Europe:

After China, the pandemic spread in Europe very rapidly targeting France, Germany, Italy, Finland, Sweden, Russia, Spain and England in the last week of January 2020. By April 9, 2020, these countries had 594,199 coronavirus cases at a loss of 53,566 human lives showing a 9% fatality rate. These eight countries have nearly 80% of total cases of 743,224 patients that are recorded in Europe on 9th April 2020.

The graph below shows trend of this disease in 46 countries of Europe with a little sign of encouraging recovery. The number of new cases had a significant decline from 2 – 7 April 2020 and recovery of patients also exhibited an upward trend on 9th April. However, the new cases took an upward jump on 8 April and went down again on 9th April. Europe still has 514,186 active cases and 30,131 critical patients. Based on the current fatality rates, there is a possibility that Europe may lose another 40 to 50 thousand people if no change takes place in the number of new cases.


Covid-19 in Americas:

In both North and South American continents, the trend of new cases continues going upward with a few intermittent dips followed by upward surges. The death rate has a consistent upward trend while the recoveries carry an inconsistent upward trend.  As on 9 April 2020, the total cases in both Americas were 498,591 with a loss of 17,048 human lives – a death rate of 3.4% against total cases. As the active cases of infected persons are 449,593 and the critical patients are 11,282, the fatality rate of these affected persons may remain 3.4% and lead to the loss of nearly 13,000 to 15,000 people if no change occurs in new cases. Based on these assumptions, the drop in coronavirus cases in American continents doesn’t seem to occur soon. The USA, as we all know, will remain the epicenter of this pandemic until a drop in additional cases takes place.

Covid-19 in Australia:

In Australia, as reflected in the graph below, the number of new cases is flattened after some escalation during 21 to 24 March while the fatality and recovery rates remained close to each other with one major improvement in recovery on 6 April 2020. Australia has lost only 51 persons against the total cases of 6104 as on 9 April 2020.  With the remaining active cases of 3,240 and only 84 critical patients we can expect nearly 20 to 30 more fatalities until they manage to recover from this disease completely.

Covid-19 in Africa:

African continent is the least affected of this pandemic among all other continents of the world and it is assumed to be the result of to its climatic condition that has no proven reason so far.  Another reason is quoted to be the incapacity of the African countries in conducting the reliable testing of the affected people. Whatever be the reason, the current trend shows that not only the total number of fatalities are very low in Africa.

The trend of new cases has been going upward with intermittent downward dips. The recovery of patients is also showing an upward trend which is a good sign. Out of 9175 cases, Africa has lost only 395 persons and there are 7,680 active cases and only 152 critical patients. With the current trend of fatality rates, Africa may lose another two to three hundred persons if a declining trend in new cases becomes consistent.

Covid-19 in highly affected countries:

The most intriguing and unanswerable question that haunts the people all over the world is: “For how long we are going to face this pandemic crisis?” As all predictions remain unbelievable for various reasons, I would like to use China case as a reference point to correlate them with the countries that are still highly affected of this pandemic.

As many as 49 countries in Africa suffered first case in the month of March while in South America 40 countries reported it in the same month. The two countries of North America, USA and Canada, experienced first case of Covide-19 on 20th and 24th January respectively. In Asia, 24 countries reported first case in the month of March while 20 countries, mostly in Eastern Europe, were infected in the month of March. If we apply the 65 days formula of Chinese experience for a downturn to start in the pandemic, the countries highly affected of Covid-19 are showing the following trend:

Trend of Covid-19 in highly affected countries of the world
Countries Date of 1st case #of Days on 9 Apr Total cases Total Deaths Recovered Active cases Critical cases
USA 20-Jan 80 435,160 14,797 22,891 397,472 9,279
France 23-Jan 78 112,950 10,869 21,254 80,827 7,148
Germany 26-Jan 75 113,296 2,349 46,300 64,647 4,895
Italy 29-Jan 72 139,422 17,669 26,491 95,262 3,693
Spain 30-Jan 71 148,220 14,792 48,021 85,407 7,069
UK 30-Jan 71 60,733 7,097 135 53,501 1,559
Iran 18-Feb 52 64,586 3,993 29,812 30,781 3,987
Switzerland 24-Feb 46 23,280 895 9,800 12,585 391
Netherlands 26-Feb 42 20,549 2,248 250 18,051 1,424
Turkey 9-Mar 32 38,226 812 1,846 35,568 1,492
Total 1,156,422 75,521 206,800 874,101 40,937

Among the above 10 highly affected countries, six countries have already crossed 65 days after the first case but they still have a large number of active and critical cases. It shows that 65 days formula for downward trend is not a hard a fast rule. Although most of the above countries have been gearing up their counter efforts against this pandemic, the effectiveness of those efforts will remain questionable as long as a downturn doesn’t start appearing in these and other countries. With the current trend of this pandemic, it can be safely said that the world will continue suffering it for a large part of this year.


The author is a freelance journalist and researcher. He is affiliated with the Center for Research and Security Studies as Senior Research Fellow. Earlier, he worked for a multi-national company GE Aviation, USA in Karachi for nearly three decades.