How to Tell if the Spread of a Virus has Peaked

Medical researchers and data scientists have shown that when the daily increase in new cases is less than the daily increase in the number of people who are either cured or deceased, the virus has essentially been contained.

The virus is no longer spreading out of control and will eventually cease to infect new hosts.

Below is a chart tracking this important metric.

If the line is in positive territory it means the coronavirus (COVID-19) is still spreading at a rapid rate, while a negative reading indicates the virus’s spread is slowing and the worst is over.

Why the Virus’s Unchecked Spread is Such Bad News

The reason the world needs to contain the coronavirus instead of letting everyone deal with it like the annual flu comes down to the severity of the virus.

During a typical flu season only about 1% of those who contract the flu end up needing hospital care.

Contrast this with the coronavirus with a current hospitalization rate of 14%.

If the virus spreads unchecked the sheer number of people looking for hospital care will break the medical system.

*We will be updating this chart every night with the latest numbers so check back to track the spread/containment of the virus *

Global Coronavirus Tracker (COVID-19): Improving (-) / Worsening (+)


The negative readings in the last two weeks of February indicated China’s draconian measures to contain the coronavirus were working.

However, once the rest of the world realized the virus was spreading within their own borders and ramped up testing, we’ve seen the number of new infections reaccelerate.

There is potentially a light at the end of the tunnel as it looks like recent quarantine orders may be having an effect with the daily number of new cases starting to plateau in parts of Europe, the U.S. and Canada.

Today the world received a huge positive indicator in the form of less ongoing cases that the increase in deaths and recoveries, a first since March 8th.

Quarantine measures are most definitely working, but now the question becomes when can the global population get back to work? 

Below is another chart looking at the infection rate in each country adjusted for relative population.

This is THE chart that puts each country on the same playing field.

We can see Italy is starting to make a dent in case growth with a full nationwide quarantine while in Spain the virus is still spreading wildly.

Countries like South Korea, which rolled out massive testing and quarantine efforts, have beat back the spread and are holding it at bay for now.

The U.S. is tracking Italy way too closely, meaning the healthcare system is only days from coming under serious stress.


If we look at each country’s cases per million people we can see the U.S. is likely to see a lot more cases before this is all over.

The U.S. is tracking Italy’s curve relatively closely which means there could eventually be at least 600,000 cases, up from 190,000 as of March 31st.

Total Cases per 1 Million People


From an economic point of view, the world is at risk of a further slowdown in activity as long as the virus’s spread is accelerating and the need for new quarantine measures is on the rise.

U.S. Coronavirus Tracker (COVID-19): Improving (-) / Worsening (+)


Stock market participants are likely watching this metric closely as well since it signals the worst is behind us and workers can get back to their jobs.

We expect institutions are already dipping their toes back into the stock market now that case growth across the developed world is slowing.

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