Covid-19 around the world: how are some key countries faring? | Coronavirus


With some notable exceptions – including the UK – where confirmed infections have begun climbing again, the number of confirmed new coronavirus cases appears, once more, to be fading in many countries around the world.

But that situation may not last. What happens next will depend mainly on two factors: whether (or when) the far more transmissible, and possibly more dangerous, Delta variant takes hold as it has in Britain; and how fast populations get vaccinated.

As Hans Kluge, the World Health Organization’s Europe director, put it: “We have been here before.” Infections ebbed last summer, too, only for a new strain to send them soaring again. Vaccinating urgently, and maintaining public health measures, will be key, he said.

As Boris Johnson prepares to postpone the UK’s final step out of lockdown for up to month, here is how other countries are faring; data is from OurWorldInData, with daily deaths, infections and vaccine doses stated as rolling seven-day averages.

Argentina’s daily cases surged from 149 per million in mid-March to a peak of 734 in mid-May, when it went into a nine-day lockdown. Numbers are falling but along with Uruguay, Colombia and Bahrain, Argentina is one of only four major countries in the world exceeding 500 daily cases per million. Daily deaths have risen from 2.3 per million to 13 since March, while the country has partially jabbed 29% of its population (7.3% fully). Buenos Aires this week suspended flights from Brazil, India and the UK and limited flights from Europe “to keep out the Delta variant”, of which two cases have been identified.

Australia continues to keep an almost clean coronavirus sheet, with daily new cases of just 0.4 per million – unchanged since mid-March – and deaths averaging zero. But it is vaccinating 0.46% of the population a day, less than half the EU rate, and has partially jabbed about 20% of it population and fully vaccinated only 2.7%. Seven people in an outbreak in Victoria last week were identified as having the Delta variant, which the prime minister, Scott Morrison, has said could mean Australia’s borders will remain shut with no end in sight.

Daily infections in Brazil have remained at a high average of more than 310 per million since mid-March and show little sign of falling soon, although daily deaths have fallen from a three-month peak of nearly 15 per million to nine on Sunday. The country is vaccinating slightly more slowly than Australia at 0.43% day, with 25% of its population having had one jab and 12% two.

New cases in France have plunged from a recent high of 675 per million in April to 59, with daily deaths following a similar trajectory from 5.4 per million to 0.83. The country’s vaccinating programme has accelerated rapidly to an average of 0.84% of the population a day, ahead of the UK but behind Germany and Spain. Nearly 45% of the population have received one dose and 21% are fully vaccinated. According to a 10 June government update, the Delta variant represented 0.5% of new cases in France, but senior health officials have warned the country is in “a race against time”.

Germany is on a similar curve to France, with daily new cases plummeting from 258 per million in April to 25 and deaths from 3.2 per million to one. It is also vaccinating fast, averaging very nearly one per 100 people, with 48% of the population vaccinated partially and 25% fully. The chancellor, Angela Merkel, said last week the situation was “extremely pleasing” but warned the country was in “a race to vaccinate” against the Delta variant, which accounts for about 2.5% of new cases.

A health worker collects a swab sample from a man to test for Covid-19 in Gurgaon, India.
A health worker collects a swab sample from a man to test for Covid-19 in Gurgaon, India. Photograph: Money Sharma/AFP/Getty Images

In India, new daily infections have plunged from 282 per million in early May to 62, but after declining from three per million to 1.8 in early June, daily deaths appear to be climbing again, hitting a seven-day average of 2.6 on Sunday. The sprawling country is vaccinating barely 0.2% of its vast 1.3 billion population a day, with 14.5% having received one dose and 3,4% fully vaccinated. A study by the National Centre for Disease Control found the Delta variant had replaced the Alpha strain as the dominant mutation in New Delhi by April.

In South Africa, daily infections are on the rise, from 20 per million in mid-March to 122 on Sunday, with deaths also climbing from 0.6 per million in early April to 1.9. Only 0.1% of the population is getting a vaccine dose each day. The country’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases said last week South Africa had technically entered the third wave of Covid-19, driven essentially by the Beta variant first detected in South Africa, which accounts for about 90% of cases, but the 22 infections with the Delta variant (most in people who had travelled) were detected in May.

New infections in Spain are on a slower downward trajectory, falling from 207 per million in late April to 86, while deaths are down from a late-March peak of 6.4 per million to 0.9. The country’s average vaccination rate is among the highest in Europe at nearly 1.1% of the population a day: nearly 45% have had one dose and more than 26% are fully vaccinated. Nonetheless, Madrid public health officials said 22 cases of the Delta variant had been detected in the central Spanish region in the past 14 days, including 18 over the past week, and warned it could soon become the dominant strain. Second vaccine doses for people aged 60 to 69 have been brought forward.

Sweden’s daily case numbers have plunged from 625 per million in early April to 76, but suffered an alarming mini-surge last week. Deaths are down less dramatically, from 2.4 in mid-April to 0.72. The Scandinavian country, whose no-lockdown approach was an international outlier, is vaccinating fast at 0.85% of the population a day, with more than 20% fully vaccinated and 40% having had one dose. Health officials said last week the Delta variant, of which only 71 cases have bene detected in Sweden, was a “dark cloud” on the horizon.

Daily infections in the UK have surged from a low of 22.7 per million in mid-May to 103, with daily deaths mostly flat over the same period at an average of about 0.15. The country’s stellar early vaccination campaign is starting to flag, dipping to an average 0.7% of the population daily from nearly 1% a month ago and overtaken by multiple EU countries. Even with 61% of its population partially vaccinated and 41% fully protected, Britain has been hit hard by the Delta variant, which accounts for 90% of infections.

Travellers are informed about free Johnson & Johnson vaccines at the  Miami international airport, Florida.
Travellers are informed about free Johnson & Johnson vaccines at Miami international airport, Florida. Photograph: Eva Marie Uzcategui/AFP/Getty Images

In the US, a fall in case numbers that began in mid-April, when the country was recording more than 215 new infections per million, has started to flatten out, albeit at a lower level of around 43. Deaths have fallen from three per million in early April to just over one on Sunday. Worryingly, with about one-third of Americans still hesitant about wanting a vaccine, the US vaccination rate has fallen sharply too: from 1% of the population a day in early April to 0.3 now. About 52% of the population has had one dose and 43% is fully vaccinated. The Delta variant is spreading fast and accounts for about 10% of new cases, epidemiologists say.



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