Editing statistical data with gawk

With very little overhead, you can access statistics on the spread of COVID-19 using gawk scripts and simple shell commands.

Open a paper, turn on the radio or TV, and you are confronted with statistics concerning the spread of COVID-19. Sometimes, it’s hard to wrap your mind around all the data, and even then, you are never sure if the media is taking the data out of context. For instance, a report of 30,000 new infections in a country doesn’t provide any information about the number of tests or the positivity rate.

If you want to drill down into the data concerning the spread of COVID-19, you can use gawk scripts and simple shell commands to process, evaluate, and present these statistics in a more meaningful way.

A Few One-Liners

The statistical data on the spread of COVID-19, usually collected daily and organized in timelines, is freely available on the Internet. Our World in Data (OWID) [1] has been recording the data since the beginning of the crisis. On its website, OWID makes the data available for download in various formats, including CSV format, which is well suited for further processing.


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