This page provides data on the number of confirmed deaths from COVID-19.
We know – based on reports and estimates of excess deaths – that these figures underestimate the total impact of the pandemic on mortality globally. We provide data on excess deaths across the world here:
This page has a large number of charts on the pandemic. In the box below you can select any country you are interested in – or several, if you want to compare countries.
All charts on this page will then show data for the countries that you selected.
This chart shows the number of confirmed COVID-19 deaths per day.
Three points on confirmed death figures to keep in mind
All three points are true for all currently available international data sources on COVID-19 deaths:
- The actual death toll from COVID-19 is likely to be higher than the number of confirmed deaths – this is due to limited testing and problems in the attribution of the cause of death. The difference between reported confirmed deaths and actual deaths varies by country.
- How COVID-19 deaths are recorded may differ between countries (e.g., some countries may only count hospital deaths, whilst others also include deaths in homes).
- The death figures on a given date do not necessarily show the number of new deaths on that day, but the deaths reported on that day. Since reporting can vary significantly from day to day – irrespectively of any actual variation of deaths – it is helpful to view the seven-day rolling average of the daily figures as we do in the chart here.
→ We provide more detail on these three points in the section ‘Deaths from COVID-19: background‘.
Three tips on how you can interact with this chart
- By clicking on Edit countries and regions you can show and compare the data for any country in the world you are interested in.
- If you click on the title of the chart, the chart will open in a new tab. You can then copy-paste the URL and share it.
- Map view: switch to a global map of confirmed deaths using the ‘MAP’ tab at the bottom of the chart.
Why adjust for the size of the population?
Differences in the population size between countries are often large, and the COVID-19 death count in more populous countries tends to be higher. Because of this it can be insightful to know how the number of confirmed deaths in a country compares to the number of people who live there, especially when comparing across countries.
For instance, if 1,000 people died in Iceland, out of a population of about 340,000, that would have a far bigger impact than the same number dying in the United States, with its population of 331 million.1 This difference in impact is clear when comparing deaths per million people of each country’s population – in this example it would be roughly 3 deaths/million people in the US compared to a staggering 2,941 deaths/million people in Iceland.
Three tips on how to interact with this map
- By clicking on any country on the map you can see the change over time in that country.
- By moving the time slider (below the map) you can see how the global situation has changed over time.
- You can focus on a particular world region using the dropdown menu to the top-right of the map.
The previous charts looked at the number of confirmed deaths per day – this chart shows the cumulative number of confirmed deaths since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Another tip on how you can interact with this chart
By pulling the ends of the blue time slider you can focus the chart on a particular period. If you bring them together to one point in time then the line chart becomes a bar chart – this of course only makes sense if you compare countries (that is what the Edit countries and regions button is for).
This chart shows the cumulative number of confirmed deaths per million people.
Why is it useful to look at weekly or biweekly changes in deaths?
For all global data sources on the pandemic, daily data does not necessarily refer to deaths on that day – but to the deaths reported on that day.
Since reporting can vary significantly from day to day – irrespectively of any actual variation of deaths – it is helpful to look at changes from week to week. This provides a slightly clearer picture of where the pandemic is accelerating, slowing, or in fact reducing.
The maps shown here provide figures on weekly and biweekly deaths: one set shows the number of deaths per million people in the previous seven or fourteen days (the weekly or biweekly cumulative total); the other set shows the percentage change (growth rate) over these periods.
In this document, the many linked charts, our COVID-19 Data Explorer, and the Complete COVID-19 dataset, we report and visualize the data on confirmed cases and deaths from the World Health Organization (WHO). We make the data in our charts and tables downloadable as complete and structured CSV, XLSX, and JSON files on GitHub.
The WHO has published updates on confirmed cases and deaths on its dashboard for all countries since 31 December 2019. From 31 December 2019 to 21 March 2020, this data was sourced through official communications under the International Health Regulations (IHR, 2005), complemented by publications on official ministries of health websites and social media accounts. Since 22 March 2020, the data has been compiled through WHO region-specific dashboards or direct reporting to WHO.
The WHO updates its data once per week.
The attribution of deaths to specific causes can be challenging under any circumstances. Health problems are often connected, and multiplicative, meaning an underlying condition can often lead to complications which ultimately result in death.
This is also true in the case of COVID-19: the disease can lead to other health problems such as pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).
So, how are deaths from COVID-19 recorded? What is and isn’t included in these totals?
As is standard in death reporting, countries are asked to follow the ‘cause of death’ classifications from the WHO’s International Classification of Diseases guidelines.2 However, countries also typically provide their own guidance to practitioners on how and when COVID-19 deaths should be recorded.
Let’s take a look at two concrete examples of national guidance: the United States and the UK. Both provide very similar guidelines for medical practitioners on the completion of death certificates. Here is the US CDC’s Vital Statistics Reporting Guidance; here is the UK Government guidance.3
Both guidelines state that if the practitioner suspects that COVID-19 played a role in an individual’s death it should be specified on the death certificate. In some cases, COVID-19 may be the underlying cause of death, having led to complications such as pneumonia or ARDS. Even when it’s the underlying and not the direct cause, COVID-19 should be listed.4
Although confirmed cases are reliant on a positive laboratory confirmation of the COVID-19 test, a laboratory diagnosis may not be required for it to be listed as the cause of death. In the UK guidelines, for example, it makes clear that practitioners should complete death certificates to the best of their knowledge, stating that “if before death the patient had symptoms typical of COVID-19 infection, but the test result has not been received, it would be satisfactory to give ‘COVID-19’ as the cause of death, and then share the test result when it becomes available. In the circumstances of there being no swab, it is satisfactory to apply clinical judgement.”
This means a positive COVID-19 test result is not required for a death to be registered as COVID-19. In some circumstances, depending on national guidelines, medical practitioners can record COVID-19 deaths if they think the signs and symptoms point towards this as the underlying cause.
The US CDC guidelines also make this clear with an example: the death of an 86-year-old female with an unconfirmed case of COVID–19. It was reported that the woman had typical COVID-19 symptoms five days prior to suffering an ischemic stroke at home. Despite not being tested for COVID-19, the coroner determined that the likely underlying cause of death was COVID–19 given her symptoms and exposure to an infected individual.
Just as with confirmed cases, the number of deaths reported on a given day does not necessarily reflect the actual number of COVID-19 deaths on that day, or in the previous 24 hours. This is due to lags and delays in reporting.
Delays can occur for several reasons:
- After a death certificate has been completed, inspection by post-mortem or laboratory testing may be required to verify the cause of death.
- Death certificates are then either automatically or manually coded. It is often the case that COVID-19 deaths are always manually coded (e.g., this is the case in the USA).
- There can be significant delays in this coding process, particularly when there is a large increase in the number of deaths (e.g., this averages 7 days in the US).
- These figures are then collected in national registration statistics and reported to international sources.
The delay in reporting can be on the order of days and sometimes as long as a week or more. This means the number of deaths reported on a given day is not reflective of the actual number of deaths that occurred on that day.
What we know is the number of confirmed deaths due to COVID-19 to date. Limited testing and challenges in the attribution of the cause of death means that the number of confirmed deaths may not be an accurate count of the actual number of deaths from COVID-19.
In an ongoing outbreak the final outcomes – death or recovery – for all cases is not yet known. The time from symptom onset to death ranges from 2 to 8 weeks for COVID-19.5 This means that some people who are currently infected with COVID-19 will die at a later date. This needs to be kept in mind when comparing the current number of deaths with the current number of cases.
To understand the risks and respond appropriately we would also want to know the mortality risk of COVID-19 – the likelihood that someone who is infected with the disease will die from it.
We look into this question in more detail on our page about the mortality risk of COVID-19.
We would like to acknowledge and thank a number of people in the development of this work: Carl Bergstrom, Bernadeta Dadonaite, Natalie Dean, Joel Hellewell, Jason Hendry, Adam Kucharski, Moritz Kraemer and Eric Topol for their very helpful and detailed comments and suggestions on earlier versions of this work. We thank Tom Chivers for his editorial review and feedback.
And we would like to thank the many hundreds of readers who give us feedback on this work. Your feedback is what allows us to continuously clarify and improve it. We very much appreciate you taking the time to write. We cannot respond to every message we receive, but we do read all feedback and aim to take the many helpful ideas into account.