Every graph you need to see (but might not want to) about COVID-19 in Europe
Arij Limam

It is coming up to 10 months since the novel coronavirus outbreak was first identified. Since then, more than a million people globally have died and more than 37 million are known to have been infected by COVID-19. Here, in graphs, is the situation in Europe:


The current situation

As of 13 October, Europe had reported 233,900 deaths and 6,250,851 cases, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

This map shows the current rates of positive tests across the continent as the resurgence of the virus continues, following the easing of the spring lockdown restrictions.


'Second wave'?

Several European countries were hit hard by the virus early on, with the World Health Organization declaring on 13 March, a few days after they declared it a pandemic, that Europe was the new epicenter of the outbreak.

Countries across the continent imposed social restrictions to stop the spread of the virus, including nationwide lockdowns, travel bans, border closures and shutting down schools, hospitality and shops, bringing many cities to a complete standstill.

With these stringent measures in place, cases and deaths fell, but this came at the cost of floundering economies in most, if not the whole, of Europe.

To revive their economies, many countries then eased restrictions, allowing travel as well as reopening businesses and public places. But it was soon after this, in August, that cases and then deaths began to rise again, raising fears of the "second wave" of the virus that scientists had warned was likely.

By October, and with many more people being tested than during February, March and April, most countries in Europe have seen new highs for levels of people testing positive, although deaths in most countries are yet to reach the levels seen in the initial "wave."

Here are graphs from a selection of countries across the continent showing the highs and lows of their COVID-19 cases and deaths for a seven-day rolling average, since January this year.

Note: Y-axis ranges may differ for each country.


France was the first country in Europe to confirm its first case on 24 January, with cases and deaths peaking in mid April.

In the past few weeks, the virus has peaked dramatically in the country, with confirmed cases surpassing March levels. The government has brought in various measures and is considering further restrictions. 

Italy quickly became the worst-hit country in Europe during spring, second only to the U.S. globally in terms of having the most deadly outbreak.

It declared a nationwide lockdown in early March and closed its borders to travel, after some countries in Europe reported their first cases came from people arriving from the country.

Spain was also one of the worst-affected areas early on in the outbreak. 

But cases are now peaking once more as local areas including the capital Madrid are reintroducing tough lockdown measures to curb the rise in cases.

Although the UK did not report its first case until the end of January, and kept a relatively steady rate of increase, cases and deaths rose dramatically over the following months, making it the worst-hit country in Europe in May, overtaking Italy. 

Now, the UK is once more grappling with a resurgence in cases after a drop in June, with confirmed cases in October higher than those recorded in March and April.

Russia reported its first jump in cases a little later than some other countries in Europe, but by May, it became one of the five worst-hit countries in the world.

On Tuesday, Russia confirmed 13,868 new cases, setting a new record for daily infections, as the country battles another severe hit with the resurgence of the virus.

Sweden took a different approach from the rest of Europe and the world, by not imposing tough restrictions such as a full lockdown, or social-distancing measures. 

Its approach, which was seen as a form of achieving 'herd immunity,' was both criticized and celebrated. As cases dropped in July, many had taken this as a sign of success for the country's unique method, but with cases and deaths resurging at the end of last month, things remain unclear.


Economic struggles

Europe's economies were dealt a large blow as a result of the coronavirus and its restrictions. From the aviation industry, to the production, services and tourism sectors and many others in between, monetary and job losses have been widespread.

These graphs show the impact of COVID-19 on gross domestic product (GDP) – a measure of the size and health of a country's economy over a period of time – of nations across Europe.