The Road to Recovery: Which Economies are Reopening?


This post is by Iman Ghosh from Visual Capitalist

Reopening Economies

The Road to Recovery: Which Economies are Reopening?

COVID-19 has brought the world to a halt—but after months of uncertainty, it seems that the situation is slowly taking a turn for the better.

Today’s chart measures the extent to which 41 major economies are reopening, by plotting two metrics for each country: the mobility rate and the COVID-19 recovery rate:

  1. Mobility Index
    This refers to the change in activity around workplaces, subtracting activity around residences, measured as a percentage deviation from the baseline.

  2. COVID-19 Recovery Rate
    The number of recovered cases in a country is measured as the percentage of total cases.

Data for the first measure comes from Google’s COVID-19 Community Mobility Reports, which relies on aggregated, anonymous location history data from individuals. Note that China does not show up in the graphic as the government bans Google services.

COVID-19 recovery rates rely on values from CoronaTracker, using aggregated information from multiple global and governmental databases such as WHO and CDC.

Reopening Economies, One Step at a Time

In general, the higher the mobility rate, the more economic activity this signifies. In most cases, mobility rate also correlates with a higher rate of recovered people in the population.

Here’s how these countries fare based on the above metrics.

Country Mobility Rate Recovery Rate Total Cases Total Recovered
Argentina -56% 33.14% 13,933 4,617
Australia -41% 92.03% 7,150 6,580
Austria -100% 91.93% 16,628 15,286
Belgium -105% 26.92% 57,849 15,572
Brazil -48% 39.81% 418,608 166,647
Canada -67% 52.86% 88,473 46,768
Chile -110% 41.58% 86,943 36,150
Colombia -73% 25.35% 24,104 6,111
Czechia -29% 70.69% 9,134 6,457
Denmark -93% 88.43% 11,512 10,180
Finland -93% 81.57% 6,743 5,500
France -100% 36.08% 186,238 67,191
Germany -99% 89.48% 182,385 163,200
Greece -32% 47.28% 2,906 1,374
Hong Kong -10% 97.00% 1,067 1,035
Hungary -49% 52.31% 3,816 1,996
India -65% 42.88% 165,386 70,920
Indonesia -77% 25.43% 24,538 6,240
Ireland -79% 88.92% 24,841 22,089
Israel -31% 87.00% 16,872 14,679
Italy -52% 64.99% 231,732 150,604
Japan -33% 83.92% 16,651 13,973
Malaysia -53% 80.86% 7,629 6,169
Mexico -69% 69.70% 78,023 54,383
Netherlands -97% 0.01% 45,950 3
New Zealand -21% 98.01% 1,504 1,474
Norway -100% 91.92% 8,406 7,727
Philippines -87% 23.08% 15,588 3,598
Poland -36% 46.27% 22,825 10,560
Portugal -65% 58.99% 31,596 18,637
Singapore -105% 55.02% 33,249 18,294
South Africa -74% 51.86% 25,937 13,451
South Korea -4% 91.15% 11,344 10,340
Spain -67% 69.11% 284,986 196,958
Sweden -93% 13.91% 35,727 4,971
Switzerland -101% 91.90% 30,796 28,300
Taiwan 4% 95.24% 441 420
Thailand -36% 96.08% 3,065 2,945
U.S. -56% 28.13% 1,758,909 494,724
United Kingdom -82% 0.05% 269,127 135
Vietnam 15% 85.02% 327 278

Mobility data as of May 21, 2020 (Latest available). COVID-19 case data as of May 28, 2020.

In the main scatterplot visualization, we’ve taken things a step further, assigning these countries into four distinct quadrants:

1. High Mobility, High Recovery

High recovery rates are resulting in lifted restrictions for countries in this quadrant, and people are steadily returning to work.

New Zealand has earned praise for its early and effective pandemic response, allowing it to curtail the total number of cases. This has resulted in a 98% recovery rate, the highest of all countries. After almost 50 days of lockdown, the government is recommending a flexible four-day work week to boost the economy back up.

2. High Mobility, Low Recovery

Despite low COVID-19 related recoveries, mobility rates of countries in this quadrant remain higher than average. Some countries have loosened lockdown measures, while others did not have strict measures in place to begin with.

Brazil is an interesting case study to consider here. After deferring lockdown decisions to state and local levels, the country is now averaging the highest number of daily cases out of any country. On May 28th, for example, the country had 24,151 new cases and 1,067 new deaths.

3. Low Mobility, High Recovery

Countries in this quadrant are playing it safe, and holding off on reopening their economies until the population has fully recovered.

Italy, the once-epicenter for the crisis in Europe is understandably wary of cases rising back up to critical levels. As a result, it has opted to keep its activity to a minimum to try and boost the 65% recovery rate, even as it slowly emerges from over 10 weeks of lockdown.

4. Low Mobility, Low Recovery

Last but not least, people in these countries are cautiously remaining indoors as their governments continue to work on crisis response.

With a low 0.05% recovery rate, the United Kingdom has no immediate plans to reopen. A two-week lag time in reporting discharged patients from NHS services may also be contributing to this low number. Although new cases are leveling off, the country has the highest coronavirus-caused death toll across Europe.

The U.S. also sits in this quadrant with over 1.7 million cases and counting. Recently, some states have opted to ease restrictions on social and business activity, which could potentially result in case numbers climbing back up.

Over in Sweden, a controversial herd immunity strategy meant that the country continued business as usual amid the rest of Europe’s heightened regulations. Sweden’s COVID-19 recovery rate sits at only 13.9%, and the country’s -93% mobility rate implies that people have been taking their own precautions.

COVID-19’s Impact on the Future

It’s important to note that a “second wave” of new cases could upend plans to reopen economies. As countries reckon with these competing risks of health and economic activity, there is no clear answer around the right path to take.

COVID-19 is a catalyst for an entirely different future, but interestingly, it’s one that has been in the works for a while.

Without being melodramatic, COVID-19 is like the last nail in the coffin of globalization…The 2008-2009 crisis gave globalization a big hit, as did Brexit, as did the U.S.-China trade war, but COVID is taking it to a new level.

Carmen Reinhart, incoming Chief Economist for the World Bank

Will there be any chance of returning to “normal” as we know it?

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The post The Road to Recovery: Which Economies are Reopening? appeared first on Visual Capitalist.

Mapped: The State of Facial Recognition Around the World


This post is by Iman Ghosh from Visual Capitalist

View the full-size version of this infographic.

Facial Recognition World Map-1200px

Mapping The State of Facial Recognition Around the World

View the high resolution version of this infographic by clicking here.

From public CCTV cameras to biometric identification systems in airports, facial recognition technology is now common in a growing number of places around the world.

In its most benign form, facial recognition technology is a convenient way to unlock your smartphone. At the state level though, facial recognition is a key component of mass surveillance, and it already touches half the global population on a regular basis.

Today’s visualizations from SurfShark classify 194 countries and regions based on the extent of surveillance.

Facial Recognition Status Total Countries
In Use 98
Approved, but not implemented 12
Considering technology 13
No evidence of use 68
Banned 3

Click here to explore the full research methodology.

Let’s dive into the ways facial recognition technology is used across every region.

North America, Central America, and Caribbean

In the U.S., a 2016 study showed that already half of American adults were captured in some kind of facial recognition network. More recently, the Department of Homeland Security unveiled its “Biometric Exit” plan, which aims to use facial recognition technology on nearly all air travel passengers by 2023, to identify compliance with visa status.

Facial Recognition North America Map

Perhaps surprisingly, 59% of Americans are actually in favor of implementing facial recognition technology, considering it acceptable for use in law enforcement according to a Pew Research survey. Yet, some cities such as San Francisco have pushed to ban surveillance, citing a stand against its potential abuse by the government.

Facial recognition technology can potentially come in handy after a natural disaster. After Hurricane Dorian hit in late summer of 2019, the Bahamas launched a blockchain-based missing persons database “FindMeBahamas” to identify thousands of displaced people.

South America

The majority of facial recognition technology in South America is aimed at cracking down on crime. In fact, it worked in Brazil to capture Interpol’s second-most wanted criminal.

Facial Recognition South America Map

Home to over 209 million, Brazil soon plans to create a biometric database of its citizens. However, some are nervous that this could also serve as a means to prevent dissent against the current political order.

Europe

Belgium and Luxembourg are two of only three governments in the world to officially oppose the use of facial recognition technology.

Facial Recognition Europe Map

Further, 80% of Europeans are not keen on sharing facial data with authorities. Despite such negative sentiment, it’s still in use across 26 European countries to date.

The EU has been a haven for unlawful biometric experimentation and surveillance.

—European Digital Rights (EDRi)

In Russia, authorities have relied on facial recognition technology to check for breaches of quarantine rules by potential COVID-19 carriers. In Moscow alone, there are reportedly over 100,000 facial recognition enabled cameras in operation.

Middle East and Central Asia

Facial recognition technology is widespread in this region, notably for military purposes.

Facial Recognition Middle East and Central Asia Map

In Turkey, 30 domestically-developed kamikaze drones will use AI and facial recognition for border security. Similarly, Israel has a close eye on Palestinian citizens across 27 West Bank checkpoints.

In other parts of the region, police in the UAE have purchased discreet smart glasses that can be used to scan crowds, where positive matches show up on an embedded lens display. Over in Kazakhstan, facial recognition technology could replace public transportation passes entirely.

East Asia and Oceania

In the COVID-19 battle, contact tracing through biometric identification became a common tool to slow the infection rates in countries such as China, South Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore. In some instances, this included the use of facial recognition technology to monitor temperatures as well as spot those without a mask.

Facial Recognition East Asia Oceania Map

That said, questions remain about whether the pandemic panopticon will stop there.

China is often cited as a notorious use case of mass surveillance, and the country has the highest ratio of CCTV cameras to citizens in the world—one for every 12 people. By 2023, China will be the single biggest player in the global facial recognition market. And it’s not just implementing the technology at home–it’s exporting too.

Africa

While the African continent currently has the lowest concentration of facial recognition technology in use, this deficit may not last for long.

Facial Recognition World Map

Several African countries, such as Kenya and Uganda, have received telecommunications and surveillance financing and infrastructure from Chinese companies—Huawei in particular. While the company claims this has enabled regional crime rates to plummet, some activists are wary of the partnership.

Whether you approach facial recognition technology from public and national security lens or from an individual liberty perspective, it’s clear that this kind of surveillance is here to stay.

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How U.S. Consumers are Spending Differently During COVID-19


This post is by Iman Ghosh from Visual Capitalist

In 2019, nearly 70% of U.S. GDP was driven by personal consumption.

However, in the first quarter of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has initiated a transformation of consumer spending trends as we know them.

Consumer Spending in Charts

By leveraging new data from analytics platform 1010Data, today’s infographic dives into the credit and debit card spending of five million U.S. consumers over the past few months.

Let’s see how their spending habits have evolved over that short timeframe:

How U.S. Consumers are Spending Differently During COVID-19

The above data on consumer spending, which comes from 1010Data and powered by AI platform Exabel, is broken into 18 different categories:

  • General Merchandise & Grocery: Big Box, Pharmacy, Wholesale Club, Grocery
  • Retail: Apparel, Office Supplies, Pet Supplies
  • Restaurant: Casual dining, Fast casual, Fast food, Fine dining
  • Food Delivery: Food delivery, Grocery Delivery, Meal/Snack kit
  • Travel: Airline, Car rental, Cruise, Hotel

It’s no surprise that COVID-19 has consumers cutting back on most of their purchases, but that doesn’t mean that specific categories don’t benefit from changes in consumer habits.

Consumer Spending Changes By Category

The onset of changing consumer behavior can be observed from February 25, 2020, when compared year-over-year (YoY).

As of May 12, 2020, combined spending in all categories dropped by almost 30% YoY. Here’s how that shakes out across the different categories, across two months.

General Merchandise & Grocery

This segment saw a sharp spike in initial spending, as Americans scrambled to stockpile on non-perishable food, hand sanitizer, and toilet paper from Big Box stores like Walmart, or Wholesale Clubs like Costco.

In particular, spending on groceries reached a YoY increase of 97.1% on March 18, 2020. However, these sudden panic-buying urges leveled out by the start of April.

  Feb 25, 2020 YoY Spending May 5, 2020 YoY Spending Overall Change
Big Box +14.2% -1.5% -15.7%
Grocery +1.0% +9.4% +8.4%
Pharmacy -3.6% -23.8% -20.2%
Wholesale Club +13.0% +2.6% -10.4%

Pharmaceutical purchases dropped the most in this segment, possibly as individuals cut back on their healthcare expenditures during this time. In fact, in an April 2020 McKinsey survey of physicians, 80% reported a decline in patient volumes.

Retail

With less foot traffic in malls and entire stores forced to close, sales of apparel plummeted both in physical locations and over e-commerce platforms.

  Feb 25, 2020 YoY Spending May 5, 2020 YoY Spending Overall Change
Apparel -5.6% -51.9% -46.3%
Office Supplies -8.9% -2.8% +6.1%
Pet Supplies +2.7% -18.5% -21.2%

Interestingly, sales of office supplies rose as many pivoted to working from home. Many parents also likely required more of these resources to home-school their children.

Restaurant

The food and beverage industry has been hard-hit by COVID-19. While many businesses turned to delivery services to stay afloat, those in fine dining were less able to rely on such a shift, and spiraled by 88.2% by May 5, 2020, year-over-year.

  Feb 25, 2020 YoY Spending May 5, 2020 YoY Change Overall Change
Casual Dining -2.7% -64.9% -62.2%
Fast Casual 4.2% -29.6% -33.8%
Fast Food 2.0% -20.9% -22.9%
Fine Dining -18.6% -88.2% -69.6%

Applebees or Olive Garden exemplify casual dining, while Panera or Chipotle characterize fast casual.

Food Delivery

Meanwhile, many consumers also shifted from eating out to home cooking. As a result, grocery delivery services jumped by over five-fold—with consumers spending a whopping 558.4% more at its April 19, 2020 peak compared to last year.

  Feb. 25, 2020 YoY Spending May 5, 2020 YoY Spending Overall Change
Food Delivery +18.8% +67.1% +48.3%
Grocery Delivery +23.0% +419.7% +396.7%
Meal/ Snack Kit +7.0% -5.9% -12.9%

Food delivery services are also in high demand, with Doordash seeing the highest growth in U.S. users than any other food delivery app in April.

Travel

While all travel categories experienced an immense decline, cruises suffered the worst blow by far, down by 87.0% in YoY spending since near the start of the pandemic.

  Feb 25, 2020 YoY Spending May 5, 2020 YoY Spending Overall Change
Airline -7.7% -99.1% -91.4%
Car Rental -6.3% -86.0% -79.7%
Cruise -18.7% -105.7% -87.0%
Hotel -7.0% -85.9% -78.9%

Airlines have also come to a halt, nosediving by 91.4% in a 10-week span. In fact, governments worldwide have pooled together nearly $85 billion in an attempt to bail the industry out.

Hope on the Horizon?

Consumer spending offers a pulse of the economy’s health. These sharp drops in consumer spending fall in line with the steep decline in consumer confidence.

In fact, consumer confidence has eroded even more intensely than the stock market’s performance this quarter, as observed when the Index of Consumer Sentiment (ICS) is compared to the S&P 500 Index.

Consumer Sentiment Index

Many investors dumped their stocks as the coronavirus hit, but consumers tightened their purse strings even more. Yet, as the chart also shows, both the stock market and consumer sentiment are slowly but surely on the mend since April.

As the stay-at-home curtain cautiously begins to lift in the U.S., there may yet be hope for economic recovery on the horizon.

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The post How U.S. Consumers are Spending Differently During COVID-19 appeared first on Visual Capitalist.

Zoom is Now Worth More Than the World’s 7 Biggest Airlines


This post is by Iman Ghosh from Visual Capitalist

Zoom Is Now Worth More Than The World's 7 Biggest Airlines

Zoom Is Now Worth More Than The 7 Biggest Airlines

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have transitioned to working—and socializing—from home. If these trends become the new normal, certain companies may be in for a big payoff.

Popular video conferencing company, Zoom Communications, is a prime example of an organization benefiting from this transition. However, other industries haven’t been so lucky.

The Zoom Boom, in Perspective

As of May 15, 2020, Zoom’s market capitalization has skyrocketed to $48.8 billion, despite posting revenues of only $623 million over the past year.

What separates Zoom from its competition, and what’s led to the app’s massive surge in mainstream business culture?

zoom-search-interest

Industry analysts say that business users have been drawn to the app because of its easy-to-use interface and user experience, as well as the ability to support up to 100 participants at a time. The app has also blown up among educators for use in online learning, after CEO Eric Yuan took extra steps to ensure K-12 schools could use the platform for free.

Zoom daily users have skyrocketed in past months, going from 10 million in December 2019 to a whopping 300 million as of April 2020.

Zoom vs. Airlines stock chart

The Airline Decline

The airline industry has been on the opposite end of fortune, suffering an unprecedented plummet in demand as international restrictions have shuttered airports:

The world’s top airlines by revenue have fallen in total value by 62% since the end of January:

Airline Market Cap Jan 31, 2020  Market Cap May 15, 2020
Southwest Airlines $28.440B $14.04B
Delta $35.680B $12.30B
United $18.790B $5.867B
International Airlines Group $14.760B $4.111B
Lufthansa $7.460B $3.873B
American $11.490B $3.886B
Air France $4.681B $2.137B
Total Market Cap $121.301B $46.214B

Source: YCharts. All market capitalizations listed as of May 15, 2020.

With countries scrambling to contain the spread of COVID-19, many airlines have cut travel capacity, laid off workers, and chopped executive pay to try and stay afloat.

If and when regular air travel will return remains a major question mark, and even patient investors such as Warren Buffett have pulled out from airline stocks.

Airline % Change in Total Returns (Jan 31-May 15, 2020)
United -72.91%
International Airlines Group -72.16%
American -65.76%
Delta -65.39%
Air France -54.34%
Southwest Airlines -56.35%
Lufthansa -48.08%

Source: YCharts, as of May 15, 2020.

The world has changed for the airlines. The future is much less clear to me about how the business will turn out.

—Warren Buffett

What Does the Future Hold?

Zoom’s recent success is a product of its circumstances, but will it last? That’s a question on the mind of many investors and pundits ahead of the company’s Q1 results to be released in June.

It hasn’t been all smooth-sailing for the company—a spate of “Zoom Bombing” incidents, where uninvited people hijacked meetings, brought the app’s security measures under scrutiny. However, the company remained resilient, swiftly providing support to combat the problem.

Meanwhile, as many parts of the world begin taking measures to restart economic activity, airlines could see a cautious return to the skies—although any such recovery will surely be a “slow, long ascent”.

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The Hunger Pandemic: How COVID-19 Worsens Global Food Insecurity


This post is by Iman Ghosh from Visual Capitalist

The Hunger Pandemic: How COVID-19 Threatens Global Food Insecurity

How COVID-19 Could Worsen Global Food Insecurity

While COVID-19 is dominating headlines, another kind of emergency is threatening the lives of millions of people around the world—food insecurity.

The two are very much intertwined, however. By the end of 2020, authorities estimate that upwards of 265 million people could be on the brink of starvation globally, almost double the current rate of crisis-level food insecurity.

Today’s visualizations use data from the fourth annual Global Report on Food Crises (GRFC 2020) to demonstrate the growing scale of the current situation, as well as its intense concentration in just 55 countries around the globe.

Global Overview

The report looks at the prevalence of acute food insecurity, which has severe impacts on lives, livelihoods, or both. How does the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) classify the different phases of acute food insecurity?

  • Phase 1: Minimal/None
  • Phase 2: Stressed
  • Phase 3: Crisis
  • Phase 4: Emergency
  • Phase 5: Catastrophe/Famine

According to the IPC, urgent action must be taken to mitigate these effects from Phase 3 onwards. Already, 135 million people experience critical food insecurity (Phase 3 or higher). Here’s how that breaks down by country:

Country/ Territory Total Population Analyzed (Millions) Population in Crisis (Phase 3+, Millions) Share of Analyzed Population in Crisis
Afghanistan¹ 30.7 11.3 37%
Angola¹
(24 communes in 3 provinces)
0.9 0.6 62%
Bangladesh
(Cox’s Bazar and host populations)
3.5 1.3 37%
Burkina Faso¹ 21.4 1.2 6%
Burundi 11.5 0.2 2%
Cabo Verde 0.5 0.01 2%
Cameroon¹
(7 regions)
16.1 1.4 8%
Central African Republic¹
(excluding Lobaye)
4.4 1.8 41%
Chad¹ 14.3 0.6 4%
Colombia¹
(Venezuelan migrants)
1.6 0.9 55%
Côte d’Ivoire 19.8 0.06 0%
Democratic Republic of the Congo¹
(109 territories)
59.9 15.6 26%
Ecuador¹
(Venezuelan migrants)
0.4 0.3 76%
El Salvador¹
(Eastern region)
1.4 0.3 22%
Eswatini¹
(rural population)
0.9 0.2 25%
Ethiopia¹
(selected areas in 6 regions)
28.7 8 27%
Gambia 2 0.2 10%
Guatemala¹ 16.6 3.1 18%
Guinea 10.1 0.3 3%
Guinea-Bissau¹ 1.3 0.1 10%
Haiti¹ 10.5 3.7 35%
Honduras¹
(13 departments)
5.1 1 18%
Iraq 39.3 1.8 5%
Kenya¹
(Arid and Semi-Arid Lands)
13.9 3.1 22%
Lebanon¹
(Syrian refugees)
0.9 0.3 29%
Lesotho¹
(rural population)
1.5 0.4 30%
Liberia 4.3 0.04 1%
Libya 6.7 0.3 5%
Madagascar¹
(Southern, south-eastern and eastern areas)
4.6 1.3 28%
Malawi¹ 15.3 3.3 22%
Mali¹ 20.5 0.6 3%
Mauritania¹ 4.1 0.6 15%
Mozambique¹
(39 districts)
5 1.7 34%
Myanmar 54 0.7 1%
Namibia 2.4 0.4 18%
Nicaragua 6 0.08 1%
Niger¹ 21.8 1.4 7%
Nigeria¹
(16 states and Federal Capital Territory)
103.5 5 5%
Pakistan¹
(Balochistan and Sindh drought-affected areas)
6 3.1 51%
Palestine 5 1.7 33%
Rwanda 12.6 0.1 1%
Senegal¹ 13.2 0.4 3%
Sierra Leone¹ 8.1 0.3 4%
Somalia¹ 12.3 2.1 17%
South Sudan² 11.4 7 61%
Sudan¹
(excluding West Darfur)
41.9 5.9 14%
Syrian Arab Republic 18.3 6.6 36%
Turkey¹
(Syrian refugees)
2.7 0.5 17%
Uganda 40 1.5 4%
Ukraine
(Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts, and IDP)
6.1 0.5 9%
United Republic of Tanzania¹
(16 districts)
4.8 1 20%
Venezuela¹ 28.5 9.3 32%
Yemen² 29.9 15.9 53%
Zambia¹
(86 districts)
9.5 2.3 24%
Zimbabwe¹
(Rural population)
9.4 3.6 38%
Total populations 825.1 million 134.99 million

Source: GRFC 2020, Table 5 – Peak numbers of acutely food-insecure people in countries with food crises, 2019
¹ Include populations classified in Emergency (IPC/CH Phase 4)
² Include populations classified in Emergency (IPC/CH Phase 4) and in Catastrophe (IPC/CH Phase 5)

While starvation is a pressing global issue even at the best of times, the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is projected to almost double these numbers by an additional 130 million people—a total of 265 million by the end of 2020.

To put that into perspective, that’s roughly equal to the population of every city and town in the United States combined.

A Continent in Crisis

Food insecurity impacts populations around the world, but Africa faces bigger hurdles than any other continent. The below map provides a deeper dive:

global food crisis 2020 africa

Over half of populations analyzed by the report – 73 million people – are found in Sub-Saharan Africa. Main drivers of acute food insecurity found all over the continent include:

  • Conflict/Insecurity
    Examples: Interstate conflicts, internal violence, regional/global instability, or political crises.
    In many instances, these result in people being displaced as refugees.
  • Weather extremes
    Examples: Droughts and floods
  • Economic shocks
    Macroeconomic examples: Hyperinflation and currency depreciation
    Microeconomic examples: Rising food prices, reduced purchasing power
  • Pests
    Examples: Desert locusts, armyworms
  • Health shocks
    Examples: Disease outbreaks, which can be worsened by poor quality of water, sanitation, or air
  • Displacement
    A major side-effect of conflict, food insecurity, and weather shocks.

One severely impacted country is the Democratic Republic of Congo, where over 15 million people are experiencing acute food insecurity. DRC’s eastern region is experiencing intense armed conflict, and as of March 2020, the country is also at high risk of Ebola re-emergence.

Meanwhile, in Eastern Africa, a new generation of locusts has descended on croplands, wiping out vital food supplies for millions of people. Weather conditions have pushed this growing swarm of trillions of locusts into countries that aren’t normally accustomed to dealing with the pest. Swarms have the potential to grow exponentially in just a few months, so this could continue to cause big problems in the region in 2020.

Insecurity in Middle East and Asia

In the Middle East, 43 million more people are dealing with similar challenges. Yemen is the most food-insecure country in the world, with 15.9 million (53% of its analyzed population) in crisis. It’s also the only area where food insecurity is at a Catastrophe (IPC/CH Phase 5) level, a result of almost three years of civil war.

global food crisis 2020 middle east

Another troubled spot in the Middle East is Afghanistan, where 11.3 million people find themselves in a critical state of acute food insecurity. Over 138,000 refugees returned to the country from Iran and Pakistan between January-March 2020, putting a strain on food resources.

Over half (51%) of the analyzed population of Pakistan also faces acute food insecurity, the highest in all of Asia. These numbers have been worsened by extreme weather conditions such as below-average monsoon rains.

An Incomplete Analysis

As COVID-19 deteriorates economic conditions, it could also result in funding cuts to major humanitarian organizations. Upwards of 300,000 people could die every day if this happens, according to the World Food Program’s executive director.

The GRFC report also warns that these projections are still inadequate, due to major data gaps and ongoing challenges. 16 countries, such as Iran or the Philippines have not been included in the analysis due to insufficient data available.

More work needs to be done to understand the true severity of global food insecurity, but what is clear is that an ongoing pandemic will not do these regions any favors. By the time the dust settles, the food insecurity problem could be compounded significantly.

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Exploring the Expanse: 30 Years of Hubble Discoveries


This post is by Iman Ghosh from Visual Capitalist

View the full-size version of the infographic

Exploring the Expanse Hubble Discoveries

Exploring the Expanse: 30 Years of Hubble Discoveries

View the full-size version of the infographic by clicking here.

We’ve been fascinated by space for centuries, but telescopes truly opened our eyes to what lies beyond our frontiers.

For 30 years, the Hubble Space Telescope has been our companion in helping us understand outer space, paving the way for many important scientific discoveries in the process.

A Window to the Universe

Hubble launched on Apr 24, 1990 and has been in our orbit ever since. However, it had something of a shaky start. Due to an error in its primary mirror, it returned many wobbly and blurry images—until a servicing mission in December 1993 fixed the issue.

Today’s incredible map was created by Nadieh Bremer of Visual Cinnamon, for the scientific journal Physics Today. It incorporates over 550,000 scientific observations, to show the diverse objects captured by Hubble between 1990-2019.

Certain constellations have been included to help place these findings, many of which are also visible to the naked eye. Here are the main color-coded categories found on the map:

  • Yellow: Star/ Stellar cluster
    Example: V838 Monocerotis, which includes a red star and a light echo.
  • Red: Galaxy/ Clusters of galaxies
    Example: Spiral galaxy M81, half the size of the Milky Way.
  • Green: Interstellar medium (ISM)
    Example: Eagle Nebula, a majestic spire of cosmic dust and gas, resembling pillars and spanning 4-5 light years.
  • Blue: Solar System
    Example: Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, a high-pressure storm in the planet’s atmosphere.
  • Pink: Calibration/Unidentified (e.g. Hubble Deep Field surveys)
    Example: Ultra Deep Field, which captured a view of 10,000 galaxies over 11 days—some which date back to the early billion years of the universe.

NASA considers the Hubble telescope the “most significant advance in astronomy since Galileo’s telescope” and not without good reason—its total observations top 1.3 million.

Hubble Observations, by Category

The journey doesn’t end there, either. Bremer also looked at the frequency of Hubble observations that occurred within each of these categories, ranging from 1,000-20,000.

Hubble Observation by Category

Source: Physics Today

Each category encompasses multiple distinctive descriptions. For example, galaxies can be broken down further into whether they are spiral, nuclear, elliptical-shaped and much more.

Hubble’s Growing Legacy

The images sent back by Hubble over these three decades are not just for aesthetic purposes. The telescope is also responsible for immense contributions to the astronomy field: close to 13,000 scientific papers have used Hubble as a source to date.

The biggest scientific breakthrough thus far? The realization that our universe is expanding at an accelerating rate—thanks to a force called dark energy.

Hubble really did open up the whole universe to us in a way that nothing else did.

—Colleen Hartman, Former Deputy Center Director, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

It’s clear that Hubble already has an impressive legacy, and it’s not expected to be retired until at least the year 2025. Soon, it will be joining forces with the new James Webb Space Telescope, to be launched in March 2021. For the next generation of space enthusiasts, their eyes to the skies may well be the Webb instead.

For the true data viz nerds among us, here is an in-depth blog post detailing the sky map’s creation from scratch.

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The post Exploring the Expanse: 30 Years of Hubble Discoveries appeared first on Visual Capitalist.

What is Big Tech Contributing to Help Fight COVID-19?


This post is by Iman Ghosh from Visual Capitalist

What is Big Tech Contributing to Help Fight COVID-19?

What is Big Tech Contributing to Fight COVID-19?

In the ongoing global crusade against COVID-19, everyone has a part to play. As the situation intensifies, the private sector has also been rallying to help governments and healthcare organizations cope with the situation, and U.S. tech companies are no exception.

With a combined market capitalization of over $4.7 trillion, the “FAAMG” Five—Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, and Alphabet (Google)—wield immense influence on the economy, as well as the potential to impact lives during this challenging time.

The Biggest Moves by Big Tech

In today’s data visualization, we look at the financial contributions being made by Big Tech giants in response to the pandemic. The main categories that these actions fall into are:

  • Small businesses: Grants and ad credits
  • Media/News: Fact-checking and grants for local news
  • Healthcare: COVID-19 research and frontline support
  • Relief Efforts: Public safety and non-profit donations

What is each company pledging in financial efforts to relieve the strain on those affected most by the ongoing crisis?

Alphabet (Google)

Many people rely on Google to find reliable news and resources during the pandemic. Google’s parent company, Alphabet, has focused its financial support towards small businesses and healthcare researchers, mainly through offering millions of dollars in advertising credits.

Category Amount Details
Total: $856.5M
Small Businesses $340M Google ad credits for small businesses
$200M Investment fund for NGOs and financial institutions to help small businesses
$20M Ad credits for NGOs and financial institutions to help small businesses
$15M Cash grants to non-profits to help small businesses
Media/News $6.5M Funding offered to Google News Initiative to support media outlets and fact-checkers
Healthcare $250M Ad grants for WHO and 100+ global government agencies
$20M Google Cloud credits for researchers and academic institutions
Relief Efforts $5M Donations matched for COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, co-created by the UN Foundation and the WHO

Google has also promised to ramp up the production of 3 million masks for the CDC Foundation. In addition, Google has partnered with Apple to create a secure and private contact-tracing tool to aid public health authorities.

Facebook

Facebook is another massive platform through which information—and misinformation—spreads quickly and easily. Especially in times of crisis, the spread of poorly-vetted information can have a severe impact on our health and well-being.

To try and combat this, the company is allocating funds towards fact-checking, as well as supporting local media outlets.

Category Amount Details
Total: $248M
Small Businesses $100M Small Business Grants Program, for up to 30,000 businesses in over 30 countries
Media/News $75M Marketing to help publishers worldwide with declining ad revenues
$25M Facebook Journalism Project towards emergency grant funding for local news
$2M Grants and donations to fact-checking organizations e.g. International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN)
$1M Grants for local news
Healthcare $25M Support for front line healthcare workers
Relief Efforts $10M Donations matched to the CDC Foundation
$10M Donations matched for COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, co-created by the UN Foundation and the WHO

Facebook and Alphabet will together match up to $15 million in donations to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, which has raised over $127 million to date.

Amazon

During this unprecedented era of social distancing and lockdowns, the online retailer has become almost indispensable as ecommerce shoots up. Amazon has several initiatives on the go, including help to Seattle businesses and citizens, where its operations all started.

Category Amount Details
Total: $72M
Small Businesses $5.5M Neighborhood Small Business Relief Fund for over 400 Seattle small businesses
$1M COVID-19 Response Fund, providing rapid-response grants to local businesses and vulnerable communities
Healthcare $20M Amazon Web Services (AWS) Diagnostic Development Initiative to speed up COVID-19 research
Relief Efforts $30M £24.5M (US$30M) provided to European non-profit and Red Cross organizations
$25M Amazon Relief Fund, dedicated to support independent delivery service partners and drivers
$10M Amazon Literary Partnership, an emergency initiative for artists and writers
$5M Total donated in devices globally for healthcare workers and education efforts
$1M Donations matched to the non-profit Mary’s Place
$1M Towards emergency response efforts in Washington, D.C.

In addition, Amazon donated 800 laptops to public schools in the Seattle area, and has raised workers’ hourly and overtime pay. In early April, CEO Jeff Bezos also donated $100 million to Feeding America, a non-profit food bank.

Microsoft

Technology is playing an immense role in tracking COVID-19 and the progress we’re making to end it. As a result, Microsoft is directing its financial efforts towards its AI for Health program.

Category Amount Details
Total: $27.5M
Healthcare $20M AI for Health initiative commitment to focus on front-lines of research
China-specific Relief $6.5M ¥46M (US$6.5M) donated in cash and tech support for China’s fight against the virus
Relief Efforts $1M COVID-19 Response Fund, providing rapid-response grants to local businesses and vulnerable communities

On top of these, Bill Gates officially stepped off the board of Microsoft in mid-March to focus on philanthropic efforts. The Gates Foundation has poured $100 million into funding for coronavirus research, and plans to pump billions more dollars into research in the coming weeks, to speed up vaccine development and manufacturing.

Apple

Finally, Apple is putting all its donations towards supporting public relief efforts, both in China and other affected parts of the world.

Category Amount Details
Total: $22M
Relief Efforts $15M Donations committed to global response efforts
China-specific Relief $7M ¥50M (US$7M) donated to China’s long-term public health recovery efforts

Further, Apple has donated 20 million masks to health workers, and aims to manufacture 1 million face shields per week.

Together, Microsoft and Apple contributed $2 million to the Seattle-based COVID-19 Response Fund, which has racked up $15.7 million in total donations to-date.

How the $1.25B Breaks Down

Looking at the information another way, how much money is flowing towards the various contribution categories?

Small businesses are the biggest beneficiaries of Big Tech’s economic relief, and understandably so—they are one of the most affected entities in the crisis. Healthcare research is also getting a boost, with funds focused on advancing potential treatments and vaccines in the pipeline, and supporting healthcare workers in the trenches of the pandemic.

Category Company Breakdown Total Amount
Total: $1,252.5M
Small Business Alphabet: $575M
Facebook: $100M
Amazon: $6.5M
$681.5M
Media/ News Facebook: $103M
Alphabet: $6.5M
$109.5M
Healthcare Alphabet: $270M
Facebook: $25M
Microsoft: $20M
Amazon: $20M
$335M
Relief Efforts Amazon: $72M
Facebook: $20M
Apple: $15M
Alphabet: $5M
Microsoft: $1M
$113M
China-specific Relief Apple: $7M
Microsoft: $6.5M
$13.5M

As a majority of work and socializing migrates online, Big Tech has the most to benefit from the current situation. Their positive efforts to lend a helping hand may well be a strategy for uplifting their poor reputation in the media—but is it enough?

Some might argue that for these Big Tech companies, $1.25 billion is just a drop in the bucket. In fact, other Silicon Valley players are single-handedly matching these contributions, such as Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey who pledged $1 billion of his own equity towards relief efforts and education.

However, that’s also not to imply that these financial efforts are the only actions taken by the five companies in question. Many of them are building critical educational and data-driven technological solutions to help mitigate the COVID-19 situation as it unfolds.

It also goes without saying that the applications they’ve created are helping us remain connected and supported—making life in lockdown a little bit easier.

All data as of Apr 12, 2020. Many thanks to our community who sent in requests for this content.

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Global Shutdown: Visualizing Commuter Activity in the World’s Cities


This post is by Iman Ghosh from Visual Capitalist

Global Shutdown: Visualizing Commuter Activity in the World's Cities

Staying Put: The COVID-19 Commuter Decline

Every day, millions of people worldwide rely on public transport networks to get around. But in times of crisis, bustling cities with high volumes of commuter traffic can come to a dramatic halt.

Today’s chart breaks down daily data from Citymapper’s Mobility Index, according to trips planned on the transport app across 41 select cities.

The results paint a unique picture of how social distancing and lockdown measures are impacting commuter and economic activity in major urban hubs.

Cities With the Biggest Drops in Activity

As the government response to the COVID-19 pandemic intensifies and people are urged to stay home, transit activity is dropping everywhere.

However, some areas are seeing more of a reduction in activity than others. Where has activity declined the most over the month?

Rank City Country 04-Mar 11-Mar 18-Mar 25-Mar Total Change (%)
#1 Vienna 🇦🇹 Austria 128% 92% 9% 6% -122%
#2 Lisbon 🇵🇹 Portugal 128% 108% 24% 12% -116%
#3 Istanbul 🇹🇷 Turkey 117% 103% 20% 10% -107%
#4 Barcelona 🇪🇸 Spain 105% 86% 6% 4% -101%
#5 Brussels 🇧🇪 Belgium 107% 96% 15% 7% -100%
#6 São Paolo 🇧🇷 Brazil 112% 113% 33% 12% -100%
#7 New York City 🇺🇸 USA 104% 85% 17% 7% -97%
#8 Madrid 🇪🇸 Spain 100% 65% 5% 4% -96%
#9 Los Angeles 🇺🇸 USA 108% 81% 23% 13% -95%
#10 Melbourne 🇦🇺 Australia 113% 110% 53% 20% -93%

*Note: Data measures the % of city moving compared to 100% baseline.

Overall, Vienna and Lisbon are the cities with the biggest average drop in commuter activity over the past few weeks. This decline in mobility is correlated with a spike in the proportion of COVID-19 cases in the population:

  • Austria
    March 4: 2.6 per million
    March 25: 586 per million
  • Portugal
    March 4: 0.4 per million
    March 25: 232 per million

That said, not every city is seeing a precipitous decline in activity — let’s look at those next.

Standing Still, or On Guard

Cities that saw lower decreases in commuter activity over recent weeks can generally be slotted into three categories:

  1. Cities that were already on or near shutdown (Seoul, Milan)
  2. Cities that have so far avoided major impacts from the virus (St. Petersburg)
  3. Cities that successfully mitigated spread (Singapore)

Here are the 10 cities on the list that saw the lowest changes in activity:

Rank City Country 04-Mar 11-Mar 18-Mar 25-Mar Total Change (%)
#1 Seoul 🇰🇷 South Korea 48% 43% 41% 37% -11%
#2 Hong Kong 🇭🇰 China (SAR) 50% 52% 48% 37% -13%
#3 Singapore 🇸🇬 Singapore 90% 88% 79% 62% -28%
#4 Milan 🇮🇹 Italy 43% 10% 5% 3% -40%
#5 Tokyo 🇯🇵 Japan 63% 54% 42% 21% -42%
#6 St Petersburg 🇷🇺 Russia 114% 114% 85% 69% -45%
#7 Moscow 🇷🇺 Russia 112% 113% 75% 54% -58%
#8 Rhine-Ruhr 🇩🇪 Germany 75% 72% 28% 15% -60%
#9 Stockholm 🇸🇪 Sweden 97% 83% 34% 32% -65%
#10 Lyon 🇫🇷 France 75% 97% 6% 4% -71%

*Note: Data measures the % of city moving compared to 100% baseline.

St. Petersburg is still seeing commuter activity at 69% of normal levels as of March 25th, as the proportion of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Russia remains low, at roughly 3.4 per million.

Milan has the lowest activity of any city at 3%, and has been in shutdown for most of the month.

Although Singapore’s total COVID-19 cases grew from 18.8 to 95.4 per million, it still has 62% commuter activity. Interestingly, Singapore is one of the few countries that has been able to properly control and manage its COVID-19 outbreak.

Biggest Weekly Declines

As the month progressed, various cities showed stark one-week declines in commuter activity based on official healthcare recommendations and growing case numbers.

After a government lockdown announced on March 9, Rome experienced the sharpest decline of -75% commuter activity in the week from March 4 to March 11. Currently, there is only 5% activity compared to usual, similar to Milan.

In the second week of March, COVID-19 cases in France jumped fourfold, from 27.3 per million to 118.4 per million people. As a result, Lyon saw a whopping -91% drop in commuter activity—going from 97% on March 11 to 6% on March 18.

Over the past week, as cases in Australia reached 95 per million, Sydney and Melbourne exhibited the highest average declines at -36% and -33% in commuter activity respectively.

Full List of 41 Cities

Here’s the full list of cities, courtesy of Citymapper.

City, Country March 4 March 11 March 18 March 25 Total Change (%)
Vienna, Austria 128% 92% 9% 6% -122%
Lisbon, Portugal 128% 108% 24% 12% -116%
Istanbul, Turkey 117% 103% 20% 10% -107%
Barcelona, Spain 105% 86% 6% 4% -101%
Brussels, Belgium 107% 96% 15% 7% -100%
São Paulo, Brazil 112% 113% 33% 12% -100%
New York City, U.S. 104% 85% 17% 7% -97%
Madrid, Spain 100% 65% 5% 4% -96%
Los Angeles, U.S. 108% 81% 23% 13% -95%
Melbourne, Australia 113% 110% 53% 20% -93%
Amsterdam, Netherlands 98% 86% 13% 6% -92%
Washington DC, U.S. 97% 82% 15% 6% -91%
San Francisco, U.S. 96% 65% 9% 6% -90%
Boston, U.S. 97% 77% 16% 7% -90%
Chicago, U.S. 97% 92% 16% 7% -90%
Montréal, Canada 103% 104% 31% 14% -89%
Paris, France 95% 89% 8% 6% -89%
London, UK 100% 91% 36% 12% -88%
Manchester, UK 100% 91% 42% 13% -87%
Sydney, Australia 106% 99% 56% 20% -86%
Mexico City, Mexico 109% 110% 53% 23% -86%
Rome, Italy 91% 16% 6% 5% -86%
Copenhagen, Denmark 97% 80% 11% 11% -86%
Berlin, Germany 93% 86% 26% 12% -81%
Birmingham, UK 99% 91% 45% 18% -81%
Toronto, Canada 97% 91% 32% 19% -78%
Vancouver, Canada 94% 89% 38% 16% -78%
Philadelphia, U.S. 89% 85% 22% 13% -76%
Monaco, Monaco 81% 50% 12% 7% -74%
Hamburg, Germany 85% 72% 20% 12% -73%
Seattle, U.S. 80% 51% 19% 8% -72%
Lyon, France 75% 97% 6% 4% -71%
Stockholm, Sweden 97% 83% 34% 32% -65%
Rhine-Ruhr, Germany 75% 72% 28% 15% -60%
Moscow, Russia 112% 113% 75% 54% -58%
St Petersburg, Russia 114% 114% 85% 69% -45%
Tokyo, Japan 63% 54% 42% 21% -42%
Milan, Italy 43% 10% 5% 3% -40%
Singapore, Singapore 90% 88% 79% 62% -28%
Hong Kong, Hong Kong 50% 52% 48% 37% -13%
Seoul, South Korea 48% 43% 41% 37% -11%

*Note: Data measures the % of city moving compared to 100% baseline.

The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting everything from the stock market to the environment. With cities actively working to keep populations in isolation and healthy during this time, it may take a while before commuter activity returns to normal.

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The Emissions Impact of Coronavirus Lockdowns, As Shown by Satellites


This post is by Iman Ghosh from Visual Capitalist

NO2 Emissions China Italy

The Emissions Impact of Coronavirus Lockdowns

There’s a high chance you’re reading this while practicing social distancing, or while your corner of the world is under some type of advised or enforced lockdown.

While these are necessary measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, such economic interruption is unprecedented in many ways—resulting in some surprising side effects.

The Evidence is in NO₂ Emissions

Nitrogen dioxide (NO₂) emissions, a major air pollutant, are closely linked to factory output and vehicles operating on the road.

As both industry and transport come to a halt during this pandemic, NO₂ emissions can be a good indicator of global economic activity—and the changes are visible from space.

These images from the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA), as well as satellite footage from NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA), show a drastic decline in NO₂ emissions over recent months, particularly across Italy and China.

NO₂ Emissions Across Italy

In Italy, the number of active COVID-19 cases has surpassed China (including the death toll). Amid emergency actions to lock down the entire nation, everything from schools and shops, to restaurants and even some churches, are closed.

Italy is also an industrial hub, with the sector accounting for nearly 24% of GDP. With many Italians urged to work from home if possible, visible economic activity has dropped considerably.

This 10-day moving average animation (from January 1st—March 11th, 2020) of nitrogen dioxide emissions across Europe clearly demonstrates how the drop in Italy’s economic activity has impacted the environment.


Source: European Space Agency (ESA)

That’s not all: a drop in boat traffic also means that Venice’s canals are clear for the time being, as small fish have begun inhabiting the waterways again. Experts are cautious to note that this does not necessarily mean the water quality is better.

NO₂ Emissions Across China

The emissions changes above China are possibly even more obvious to the eye. China is the world’s most important manufacturing hub and a significant contributor to greenhouse gases globally. But in the month following Lunar New Year (a week-long festival in early February), satellite imagery painted a different picture.

no2 emissions wuhan china
Source: NASA Earth Observatory

NO₂ emissions around the Hubei province, the original epicenter of the virus, steeply dropped as factories were forced to shutter their doors for the time being.

What’s more, there were measurable effects in the decline of other emission types from the drop in coal use during the same time, compared to years prior.

China Coal Use FInal

Back to the Status Quo?

In recent weeks, China has been able to flatten the curve of its total COVID-19 cases. As a result, the government is beginning to ease its restrictions—and it’s clear that social and economic activities are starting to pick back up in March.


Source: European Space Agency (ESA)

With the regular chain of events beginning to resume, it remains to be seen whether NO₂ emissions will rebound right back to their pre-pandemic levels.

This bounce-back effect—which can sometimes reverse any overall drop in emissions—is [called] “revenge pollution”. And in China, it has precedent.

Li Shuo, Senior climate policy advisor, Greenpeace East Asia

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You’re Grounded: The COVID-19 Effect on Global Flight Capacity


This post is by Iman Ghosh from Visual Capitalist

You're Grounded: The COVID-19 Effect on Global Flight Capacity

You’re Grounded: The COVID-19 Effect on Flight Capacity

It’s not an exaggeration to say that the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown the world into a tailspin.

As the number of new cases continues to surge in parts of the world, numbers are beginning to decline in others as public health officials and governments tirelessly work to slow the contagion and reach of the virus.

The potent combination of trip cancellations and country-specific restrictions on international flights has had a staggering impact on the $880 billion global airline industry. Today’s visualization highlights data from the OAG Aviation Worldwide, which tracks how global flight capacity differs from last year’s numbers.

Asia Faced the First Hard Landing

Nearly all countries have some type of travel advisory in place, with many encouraging people to avoid non-essential travel even before COVID-19 was officially considered a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The earliest impacts of these were felt in February, as flight capacity in and out of China dropped sharply around Lunar New Year. Also, the country’s sharpest year-over-year drop was recorded on February 17, 2020, with a 71% drop in flights compared to the same date in 2019.

Flight capacity for Hong Kong, which was already seeing its traveler numbers declining due to months-long protests, continues its slump. As of March 16, 2020, it was down by an immense 81% compared to 2019 – the most of any jurisdiction represented in the data.

Monitoring the Situation Elsewhere

Meanwhile in Europe, Italy saw a 22% drop in flights coinciding with the announcement of a national lockdown on March 9, 2020. Now that the situation has intensified, flights to and from Italy have plummeted 74% from their normal rates.

On March 11, 2020, the U.S. enforced a 30-day ban on travelers from the Schengen Area, a free-travel zone consisting of 26 countries in Europe. Although the UK and Ireland were initially exempt, the ban has since been extended to include both countries as well.

Meanwhile, as of March 17th, the U.S.-Canada border is closed for all non-essential travel. This follows a previous announcement from the Canadian government that it would be curbing entry to only Canadian citizens, family members, permanent residents, diplomats, and Americans.

Broadly speaking, countries around the world are taking similar actions to limit the spread of the virus and “flatten the curve”:

Measure Taken Example Countries*
Suspending flights from specific countries 🇺🇸United States, 🇹🇷Turkey
Returning citizens must enter through specific airports 🇨🇦Canada, 🇺🇸United States
Mandatory screening 🇮🇹Italy, 🇧🇴Bolivia
14 day self-quarantine 🇮🇱Israel, 🇬🇷Greece
Complete closure of borders 🇬🇹Guatemala, 🇵🇪Peru

*As of March 17, 2020

More Turbulent Times Ahead?

As both COVID-19 and the global response to it continues to evolve, here are the largest flight capacity reductions across a few more countries in the past week:

Country 09 Mar 2020 Flights 16 Mar 2020 Flights % Change (16 Mar vs 9 Mar)
🇩🇪 Germany 2,426,098 1,984,441 -18.2%
🇨🇭 Switzerland 645,091 545,745 -15.4%
🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia 1,301,605 1,102,472 -15.3%
🇦🇪 UAE 1,363,573 1,154,960 -15.3%
🇫🇷 France 1,979,374 1,740,128 -12.1%
🇪🇸 Spain 2,498,114 2,214,571 -11.4%
🇰🇷 South Korea 795,752 710,558 -10.7%
🇹🇷 Turkey 1,775,305 1,630,475 -8.2%
🇹🇭 Thailand 1,514,844 1,402,191 -7.4%
🇵🇹 Portugal 578,093 536,127 -7.3%

Source: OAG

Naturally, the economic impact on airlines has been immense. Nearly 40% of flights impacted by the European travel bans are U.S. based, such as Delta and United Airlines, with billions in lost revenue already estimated for this year.

Many airlines worldwide face the threat of bankruptcy in coming months, if these declining trends continue. To hedge against these domino effects of the outbreak, U.S. airlines are requesting upwards of $60 billion in bailouts and direct assistance from the government.

COVID-19 is throwing everything up in the air—including the fate of airline companies. It’s not yet clear when these stringent travel restrictions may be lifted, but one can only hope that these airlines do not have to continue to weather the storm much longer.

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The World’s Highest Mountains, And What Their Names Mean


This post is by Iman Ghosh from Visual Capitalist

View the full-size version of this infographic.

The Meanings of the Names of the World's Highest Mountains

World’s Highest Mountains, and What Their Names Mean

View the high resolution version of this infographic by clicking here

From the Himalayas to the Andes, mountains have inspired and awed us for thousands of years.

Humans have ascribed all sorts of mythologies and metaphors to these jagged geological features. But while Everest or Kilimanjaro may ring a bell, do you know the meaning behind their names?

Today’s infographic from Alan’s Factory Outlet sorts the world’s highest mountains by continent, and explains the detailed origins of their names.

A Mountain By Any Other Name

Out of the 70 mountains profiled, only 41 are actually considered mountains. The rest are technically either a massif or a volcano (or a dome in one instance).

A massif (French for ‘massive’) is produced when a hard, unbendable rock is pushed towards the surface. They can also be formed when magma hardens once it’s above ground. For the rest of this post, we’ll refer to mountains and massifs interchangeably.

The highest mountains on each continent are considered to be part of the Seven Summits. Mountaineer Richard Bass was the first to scale all seven summits in 1985—and the 55-year old did so in only one year.

The Highest Mountain on Each Continent

Name Location Height Meaning of Name
Mount Everest Nepal/ China, Asia 29,029ft (8,848m) After Sir George Everest, former surveyor of India
Nepali name (Sagarmatha): “Forehead of the Sky”
Tibetan name (Chomolungma): “Goddess Mother of Mountain”
Aconcagua Argentina, Continue reading The World’s Highest Mountains, And What Their Names Mean

Mapped: Where Are the World’s Most Sustainable Companies?


This post is by Iman Ghosh from Visual Capitalist

The Most Sustainable Companies

Where Are the World’s Most Sustainable Companies?

Everywhere you look, sustainability is permeating social, political, and business agendas.

In recent years, an impressive number of companies have stepped up to take a more active role in shaping a more sustainable future—not just in the environmental sense, but also by taking social and governance factors into consideration.

Today’s chart draws from the Corporate Knights Global 100, an annual ranking of the 100 most sustainable companies, to visualize exactly how many are located in each corner of the world. The companies on the list are clear winners not only because they aim to leave the world a better place, but because their stocks have also outperformed the market on average.

How is Corporate Sustainability Measured?

The researchers rely on readily available data for all publicly-listed companies with at least $1 billion in gross revenue (in PPP), as of the financial year 2018.

Companies are then screened for several key performance indicators (KPIs), including but not limited to the following categories and examples:

  • Resource management
    Example: GHGs and other emissions such as NOx and SOx emissions
  • Financial management
    Example: Innovation capacity, or the percentage of R&D spending against total revenue
  • Employee management
    Example: Women in executive management and/or on boards
  • Clean revenue
    Example: The percentage of total revenue derived from “clean” products and services

The concentration of the most sustainable companies also varies greatly depending on where you look. Here’s a closer view of every region.

Europe: 49/100 Sustainable Companies

Europe is Continue reading Mapped: Where Are the World’s Most Sustainable Companies?

Protected: The 8 Driving Forces Shaping The Healthcare Industry


This post is by Iman Ghosh from Visual Capitalist

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Ranked: The Most Innovative Economies in the World


This post is by Iman Ghosh from Visual Capitalist

The Most Innovative Economies in 2020

Ranked: The Most Innovative Economies in the World

Innovation was again a front-of-mind theme in Davos at the World Economic Forum’s annual assembly of political and business leaders in 2020.

The global conversation centered around the ability of countries to innovate in the face of changing times. An economy’s response to megatrends, such as tech breakthroughs and the risks of climate change, can dictate its long-term success.

Today’s chart identifies the world’s top 20 most innovative economies, based on the annual index created by Bloomberg. We also delve into how the top 10 spots have evolved over time.

How Are Innovative Economies Measured?

Each year, the index assesses over 200 economies across seven weighted metrics.

  1. R&D Intensity
    Annual research and development spending, as a % of an economy’s gross domestic product (GDP).
  2. Patent Activity
    The number of annual patent and grant filings, and the 3-year average growth of filings abroad and filings growth, as a share of the world’s total patent growth.
  3. Tertiary Efficiency
    The total enrollment in higher education, the share of labor force with advanced education levels, and the share of STEM graduates and in the labor force.
  4. Manufacturing Value-added
    Manufacturing output levels—contributing to exports—as a % of GDP, and per capita.
  5. Productivity
    GDP and gross national income (GNI) in the working age population, and the 3-year improvement.
  6. High-tech Density
    The volume of domestic, high-tech public companies as a share of the world’s total companies. Examples of high-tech companies include: aerospace and defense, biotech, internet services, and renewable Continue reading Ranked: The Most Innovative Economies in the World

Where Are the Oldest Companies in Existence?


This post is by Iman Ghosh from Visual Capitalist

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Oldest Companies in Existence

Where Are the Oldest Companies in Existence?

View the high resolution version of this infographic by clicking here.

In just a few decades, it’s possible that some of today’s most recognized companies may no longer be household names.

Corporate longevity, or the average lifespan of a company, has been shrinking dramatically.

In the 1960s, a typical S&P 500 company was projected to last for more than 60 years. However, with the rapidly transforming business landscape today, it’s down to just 18 years.

The Companies With the Strongest Staying Power

Even with companies skewing younger, there are always exceptions to the rule.

Luckily, many companies around the world have stood the test of time, and today’s detailed map from Business Financing highlights the oldest company in existence in each country.

For centuries, here are the world’s oldest corporations which have made their mark:

Year Company Name Country Industry
578 Kongō Gumi Co., Ltd. Japan Construction
803 St.  Peter Stifts Kulinarium Austria Service Industry (Restaurant)
862 Staffelter Hof Germany Distillers, Vintners, & Breweries (Winery)
864 Monnaie de Paris France Manufacturing & Production (Mint)
886 The Royal Mint England Manufacturing & Production (Mint)
900 Sean’s Bar Ireland Service Industry (Pub)
1040 Pontificia Fonderia Marinelli Italy Manufacturing & Production (Bell foundry)
1074 Affligem Brewery Belgium Distillers, Vintners, & Breweries
1135 Munke Mølle Denmark Manufacturing & Production (Flour Mill)
1153 Ma Yu Ching’s Bucket Chicken House China Service Industry (Restaurant)

Whether they were born out of Continue reading Where Are the Oldest Companies in Existence?

Mapped: The Ins and Outs of Remittance Flows


This post is curated by Keith Teare. It was written by Iman Ghosh. The original is [linked here]

Global remittance flows

Mapped: The Ins and Outs of Remittance Flows

The global immigrant population is growing at a robust pace, and their aggregate force is one to be reckoned with. In 2019, migrants collectively sent $550.5 billion in money back to their home countries—money transfer flows that are also known as remittances.

Remittances serve as an economic lifeline around the world, particularly for low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Today’s visualization relies on the latest data from the World Bank to create a snapshot of these global remittance flows.

Where do most of these remittances come from, and which countries are the biggest recipients?

Remittances: An Origin Story

Remittances are a type of capital flow, with significant impacts on the places they wind up. These money transfers have surpassed official aid being sent to LMICs for decades, and in this day and age, are rivaling even Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) flows.

Remittance flows mainly help improve basic living standards such as housing, healthcare, and education, with leftover funds going towards other parts of the economy. They can also be a means for increasing the social mobility of family and friends back home.

Altogether, 50% of remittances are sent in either U.S. dollars, or the closely-linked currencies of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, such as the Saudi riyal. It’s not surprising then, that the U.S. is the biggest origin country of remittances, contributing $68.5 billion in 2018—more than double that of the next-highest country, Saudi Arabia, at $33.6 billion.

Continue reading Mapped: The Ins and Outs of Remittance Flows

Mapped: The Ins and Outs of Remittance Flows


This post is curated by Keith Teare. It was written by Iman Ghosh. The original is [linked here]

Global remittance flows

Mapped: The Ins and Outs of Remittance Flows

The global immigrant population is growing at a robust pace, and their aggregate force is one to be reckoned with. In 2019, migrants collectively sent $550.5 billion in money back to their home countries—money transfer flows that are also known as remittances.

Remittances serve as an economic lifeline around the world, particularly for low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Today’s visualization relies on the latest data from the World Bank to create a snapshot of these global remittance flows.

Where do most of these remittances come from, and which countries are the biggest recipients?

Remittances: An Origin Story

Remittances are a type of capital flow, with significant impacts on the places they wind up. These money transfers have surpassed official aid being sent to LMICs for decades, and in this day and age, are rivaling even Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) flows.

Remittance flows mainly help improve basic living standards such as housing, healthcare, and education, with leftover funds going towards other parts of the economy. They can also be a means for increasing the social mobility of family and friends back home.

Altogether, 50% of remittances are sent in either U.S. dollars, or the closely-linked currencies of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, such as the Saudi riyal. It’s not surprising then, that the U.S. is the biggest origin country of remittances, contributing $68.5 billion in 2018—more than double that of the next-highest country, Saudi Arabia, at $33.6 billion.

Continue reading Mapped: The Ins and Outs of Remittance Flows

Visualizing the Current Landscape of the Fintech Industry


This post is curated by Keith Teare. It was written by Iman Ghosh. The original is [linked here]

Visualizing the Current Landscape of the Fintech Industry

Visualizing the Current Landscape of the Fintech Industry

Since the introduction of the first credit card with a magnetic stripe in 1966, financial technology has come a long way. Silicon Valley may not have birthed the term “fintech”, but it has certainly helped catapult its applications into the mainstream.

Leveraging everything from basic apps to the blockchain, the changing dynamics of fintech are creating new investment opportunities everyday, growing its appetite with every new megadeal.

Today’s graphic from Raconteur highlights the global growth of the fintech industry, the services with the most staying power, and major M&A developments of the past year as traditional institutions scramble to deal with this digital disruption.

How Fintech Levels the Playing Field

Over the past five years, digitally-enabled financial technology services have delivered convenient and cheaper access to financial services to millions of consumers.

What draws consumers towards using fintech?

  • Attractive rates and fees (27%)
  • Easy access and account setup (20%)
  • Variety of innovative products and services (18%)
  • Better service quality and product features (12%)

This new implementation of technology is democratizing financial services for the masses, a strong contrast to accessing them through traditional brick-and-mortar institutions.

How Fintech Fares Across Borders

On average, 64% of the world’s digitally active population has used at least one fintech service. But China and India surpass this benchmark by a mile—in a survey of 27,000 consumers across 27 markets, both countries demonstrated a 87% fintech adoption rate.

Russia and South Africa are in close second, with 82% Continue reading Visualizing the Current Landscape of the Fintech Industry

Visualizing the Current Landscape of the Fintech Industry


This post is curated by Keith Teare. It was written by Iman Ghosh. The original is [linked here]

Visualizing the Current Landscape of the Fintech Industry

Visualizing the Current Landscape of the Fintech Industry

Since the introduction of the first credit card with a magnetic stripe in 1966, financial technology has come a long way. Silicon Valley may not have birthed the term “fintech”, but it has certainly helped catapult its applications into the mainstream.

Leveraging everything from basic apps to the blockchain, the changing dynamics of fintech are creating new investment opportunities everyday, growing its appetite with every new megadeal.

Today’s graphic from Raconteur highlights the global growth of the fintech industry, the services with the most staying power, and major M&A developments of the past year as traditional institutions scramble to deal with this digital disruption.

How Fintech Levels the Playing Field

Over the past five years, digitally-enabled financial technology services have delivered convenient and cheaper access to financial services to millions of consumers.

What draws consumers towards using fintech?

  • Attractive rates and fees (27%)
  • Easy access and account setup (20%)
  • Variety of innovative products and services (18%)
  • Better service quality and product features (12%)

This new implementation of technology is democratizing financial services for the masses, a strong contrast to accessing them through traditional brick-and-mortar institutions.

How Fintech Fares Across Borders

On average, 64% of the world’s digitally active population has used at least one fintech service. But China and India surpass this benchmark by a mile—in a survey of 27,000 consumers across 27 markets, both countries demonstrated a 87% fintech adoption rate.

Russia and South Africa are in close second, with 82% Continue reading Visualizing the Current Landscape of the Fintech Industry

The Sum of Its Parts: The Smartphone Multiplier Market


This post is curated by Keith Teare. It was written by Iman Ghosh. The original is [linked here]

COTW Smartphone Multiplier Market

The Sum of Its Parts: The Smartphone Multiplier Market

There’s a 60% chance you’re reading this article on a smartphone right now—a testament to how ubiquitous these devices have truly become in our lives.

We rely on smartphones every waking minute to stay connected. However, the various products and services—also known as the smartphone multiplier market—that allow us to use these devices in the first place can often be an afterthought.

Today’s chart uses data from Deloitte Insights to show just how sizable this ecosystem is becoming, and why it’s heating up as a battleground for big technology companies such as Apple, Alphabet, and Amazon.

The Smartphone Plateau

There are over 3.3 billion smartphone users in the world today.

The smartphone economy—estimated to pull in $944 billion in total revenue in 2020—is so massive that it rivals the GDP of countries like Indonesia and the Netherlands.

At the moment,

Smartphone Sales
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Continue reading The Sum of Its Parts: The Smartphone Multiplier Market