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COVID-19 Observer

ADH Data Resource

Data for the Covid-19 Observer stopped being collected end of June 2022. You can continue to explore the tool for historical analysis and trends.

COVID-19 Observer

ADH Data Resource

Embedded data resource goes here. Appearance will need to be fully controlled by the dev team


Data source:

Our World in Data

Our World in Data
Last updated:
March 10, 2022


African Data Hub. (2021). Resurgence Dashboard. [online]

About this resource

How was it made?

The Africa Data Hub (ADH) COVID-19 Observer is a tool that facilitates the interrogation and analysis of COVID-19 data in Africa. The tool provides access to numerous metrics, including case numbers, deaths, testing, vaccinations and interventions.

The ADH COVID-19 Observer is a natural evolution and re-imagining of the previous ADH Resurgence Map.

The Resurgence Map, originally conceptualised and developed by bioinformatician Peter van Heusden (Bioinformatician and Senior Systems Developer at the South African National Bioinformatics Institute (SANBI))working with Dirk Meerkotter (OpenUp), was an attempt to spot upward trends in the available data and flag these as the markers of a possible resurgence.

The Resurgence map and leaderboard tracked percentage change in a rolling seven-day window and could highlight sudden increases and decreases in the case numbers. This rate of change could indicate an exponential growth and be a marker of an outbreak.

Over the course of the pandemic, it has become clear however that the way numbers are reported and captured across the continent can skew the results: A country might for instance only report numbers once a week - which would be flagged as a sudden increase and a possible false resurgence. 

The ADH COVID-19 Observer does not attempt to calculate or predict resurgence, but instead displays case numbers without modification. This has proven to be far more reliable and allows the user to make their own deductions from the available data.

The map, leaderboard and individual country charts use both “new cases” and “new cases per million” as base indicators and the user can switch between the two. New cases per million adds more weight to smaller countries and might suggest higher impact than a “new cases” absolute value. 

While the map and leaderboard give an interesting overview of COVID-19 in Africa, the tool also provides country-level charts and data that allows for investigation of the pandemic at a national level. The data table also provides functionality for the download of custom datasets for external use.

Where does the data come from?

The data is sourced from Our World in Data (OWID), an online publication that provides research and data on global challenges. In addition, they source their COVID-19 vaccine data from the most recent official data released by governments and health ministries globally; see here.

What are the limitations of this data set?

Testing rates in African countries are low and increasingly sporadic as attention shifts away from COVID-19 on the continent. 

Testing for COVID-19 is a significant cost for healthcare budgets. It is unlikely that African countries will invest in making more up-to-date data available on COVID-19 cases, deaths, etc. Read more.

Video introduction

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