lab playground

Amazon Athena Playground (COVID-19 Data)

Up to 2h
Free playExplore without specific objectives or guided instruction.
Real-world experiencePractice in a live, pre-configured sandbox environment.


Amazon Athena allows you to query data stored in S3 using SQL. This Amazon Athena playground lab provides you with an Athena sandbox for you to query COVID-19 data provided by the AWS COVID-19 data lake. The playground configures AWS Glue tables that are backed by the AWS COVID-19 data lake which is hosted on Amazon S3. You can query the Glue tables with Athena using SQL. Links are also provided to the AWS blog announcing the AWS COVID-19 data lake (including sample Athena queries to get you started), and the AWS QuickSight dashboard providing recent COVID-19 data visualizations.

The playground is a safe and secure sandbox environment for you to explore your own ideas, follow along with Cloud Academy courses, or answer your own questions all without the need to install any software on your local machine. The extended duration of this playground provides you with ample time to play to your heart's content. Have fun in the playground!

Intended Audience

This lab playground is intended for:

  • Data Scientists
  • Data Engineers
  • Anyone working with data analytics or big data in AWS
  • Those interested in exploring data related to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Individuals looking to practice writing SQL queries with real-world data


There are no prerequisites for this lab playground.


April 27th, 2023 - Updated screenshots and instructions to reflect latest UI

February 16th, 2021 - Updated the lab with a supplemental query due to the AWS-provided query now returning no results, and increased the per query data scan limit 

October 30th, 2020 - Changed the country_code serialization to use a CSV (org.apache.hadoop.hive.serde2.OpenCSVSerde) algorithm rather than the lazy serialization algorithm configured in AWS' template to properly read country names with commas.

Environment before

Environment after

About the author

Logan Rakai, opens in a new tab
Lead Content Developer - Labs
Learning paths

Logan has been involved in software development and research since 2007 and has been in the cloud since 2012. He is an AWS Certified DevOps Engineer - Professional, AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Professional, Microsoft Certified Azure Solutions Architect Expert, MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, Google Cloud Certified Associate Cloud Engineer, Certified Kubernetes Security Specialist (CKS), Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA), Certified Kubernetes Application Developer (CKAD), and Certified OpenStack Administrator (COA). He earned his Ph.D. studying design automation and enjoys all things tech.

LinkedIn, Twitter, GitHub

Covered topics

Lab steps

Starting the Amazon Athena Playground (COVID-19 Data)