Covid-19 first and second wave compared

Comparing Covid-19 cases and deaths during first and second wave of epidemic reveals interesting facts. Daily cases during second wave exceed 1st wave figures, while for some countries daily deaths stay significantly lower. One country – Sweden seems to have Covid-19 resilience, people get ill but fatalities are rare.


In order to compare 1st and 2nd wave we make charts for selected countries following steps below:

  1. Second wave data are shown from 1st Oct
  2. First wave data are taken form 15th Mar to 1st June and moved forward by 200 days so they start at 1st Oct after the shift
  3. Both 1st and 2nd wave data are presented on same chard for visual comparison
  4. Deaths per million people are shown on left axis, cases on right one


  1. We see daily cases during 2nd wave (peak 1600) significantly surpass 1st wave (peak 200).
  2. Daily deaths are lower during 2nd wave (peak 5) than 1st (peak 25). Of course 2nd wave figures may go up, but so far cart clearly shows daily deaths dynamics is significantly lower during 2nd wave.
  3. Please note recent drop of cases and deaths figure is due to data collection method. Initial data are not accurate and take 3 days to be refined, so both numbers are likely to be revised up.


  1. We see pattern similar to Belgium one: cases 100 vs 600, deaths 14 vs 3. Second wave brings more cases but less deaths
  2. Please note 2nd wave cases for Belgium (1600) more than double Netherlands (600). Belgium mandated face masks in public spaces much earlier than Netherlands, so mask magic should be treated with a grain of salt. Cases detected may be correlated with tests performed, unfortunately ECDC data set I use has no information on tests.


  1. Both cases and deaths during 2nd wave significantly exceed 1st wave figures.
  2. Lock down during 1st phase delayed Covid-19 impact but failed to eliminate it


  1. Czechia shows similar pattern to Poland, unfortunately its cases and deaths figures are much higher
  2. Czechia 2nd wave daily cases are similar to Belgium, but daily deaths are much higher (12 vs 5 for Belgium)


  1. Sweden daily cases 2nd wave exceed 1st wave figures, but difference is not as high as Belgium one (2x vs 8x)
  2. There is no growth in daily deaths, figure stays around 0. In other words people get sick but fatalities are rare. It looks as if Sweden population built Covid-19 resilience.


  1. Sweden approach to epidemic worked best so far. First wave may have taken longer, but apparently country population build Covid-19 resilience. This is not immunity, people still get ill but fatalities are rare. I would not call it herd immunity since nobody knows how herd immunity is defined.
  2. Countries with high daily deaths rate during 1st wave have significantly lower rates now. Cumulative deaths estimates as presented in Covidmeter remain valid.
  3. Countries with low death rates during 1st wave are catching up now. For them lock down measures of 1st wave were sort of futile. Of course situation would be different had Covid-19 medication had bee discovered by now.
  4. Panic can increase death toll. Patient with brain stroke or heart attack kept at hospital driveway for several hours due to unclear Covid-19 status is likely to die. Medical personnel adequately equipped with protective gear should be able to treat urgent cases accepting reasonable infection risk.

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