Sex, gender and COVID-19

COVID-19 data FAQs

What is a confirmed case?

This tracker collects data on confirmed cases of COVID-19. A confirmed case of COVID-19, as defined by the World Health Organization, is based on laboratory confirmation of COVID-19 infection, irrespective of clinical signs and symptoms. However, international bodies can only report data as it is submitted by national governments and reporting institutions. Countries can define slightly different criteria for how cases are defined and reported.

It should also be noted that the case reporting chain, from doctor or laboratory to health department to national authority, can take several days. Thus the number of confirmed cases reported by any institution on a given day does not necessarily represent the actual number of new cases on that date. Case and contact definitions are based on the current available information and are regularly revised as new information accumulates. 

Further information on case definitions, including suspect and probable cases, can be found via the WHO. 

Are all deaths from COVID-19 reported in this tracker? 

This tracker uses data as reported by national governments. It contains data on the breakdown of reported deaths among individuals with a confirmed COVID-19 infection. In many countries, only deaths in certain settings (e.g. hospitals) are being reported, and not everyone dying of COVID-19 will have been diagnosed with the virus.  This means that it is highly probable that current data does not provide a full picture of the total number of cases of COVID-19 or deaths resulting from an infection. 

What is a case fatality rate? 

A case fatality rate (CFR) presents the number of deaths divided by the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 (people who have been tested and confirmed as having a COVID-19 infection). 

An infection fatality rate (IFR) represents the number of deaths divided by the actual number of cases of COVID-19. 

The total number of COVID-19 cases is not known. There are likely to be a significantly larger number of cases of COVID-19 than are being diagnosed through laboratory testing, given the lack of widespread testing in many countries, which makes any calculations of the IFR quite unreliable. 

This tracker reports on the proportion of reported deaths divided by the number of confirmed cases within a country.

Why do men appear to be dying at higher rates from COVID-19?

For information on the gendered differences we are seeing in COVID-19, please refer to Men, Sex, Gender and COVID-19 page.