Assessment of the Covid-19 dashboards

Researchers evaluated 158 Covid-19 dashboards, assessing design, implementation, and usefulness. Marie Patino for Bloomberg CityLab reports:

“All of these dashboards were launched very early in the pandemic,” said Damir Ivankovic, a PhD student at the University of Amsterdam. “Some of them were developed literally overnight, or over three sleepless nights in certain countries.” With Ph.D. researcher Erica Barbazza, Ivankovic has been leading a set of studies about Covid-19 dashboards with a network of researchers. For an upcoming paper that’s still unpublished, the pair have talked to more than 30 government dashboard teams across Europe and Asia to better understand their dynamics and the political decisions at stake in their creation.

In 2020, suddenly governments at all levels required an online dashboard that showed data at least near real-time, but there were constraints with software, design, and data sources, along with people to implement. So groups worked with what they had.

On the other end, everyone checking these dashboards on the daily were getting their own lessons in interpreting trends, missing data, and variation.

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A flag planted for every Covid-19 death

In fall 2020, Suzanne Brennan Firstenberg planted a flag for each American who died from Covid-19. There were over a quarter of a million flags at the time. The art installation is back at the National Mall, but this time there are over 660,000 flags. The scale is just…a lot.

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Using rates for more relatable Covid-19 numbers

With millions of Covid-19 deaths worldwide, and hundreds of thousands in the US, the absolute counts have been a challenge to relate to for a while. The Washington Post leaned into rates to communicate scale at the individual level. 1 in 500 Americans died from Covid-19 so far.

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Cases, hospitalizations, and deaths for vaccinated vs. unvaccinated

The CDC released a chart that shows case, hospitalization, and death rates for fully vaccinated (blue) against not fully vaccinated (black). As you might expect, the rates for the fully vaccinated are much lower, especially for hospitalizations and deaths.

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Data recorded in fabric quilt

Kim Moran-Jones quilted temperature minima and maxima in the UK, along with Covid-19 deaths on the perimeter in grayscale. Data and the physical fit well together.

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How vaccines can make a difference with the Delta variant

We see percentages for the vaccinated and unvaccinated, and people can easily misinterpret or miscommunicate the results. It’s especially problematic when people are actively trying to confirm misconceptions. For The New York Times, Lauren Leatherby tries to make things clearer imagining two groups: one that is 20% vaccinated and one that is 95% vaccinated.

Vaccines work.

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How Much the Everyday Changes When You Are in a Pandemic

Our everyday routines changed over the past year, and with the 2020 American Time Use Survey, we can see by how much.

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Decline of U.S. vaccination rate compared against Europe’s

Elian Peltier and Josh Holder for The New York Times highlight the vaccination rates increasing in Europe while the United States rate stalls:

Europe has plenty of people who distrust the shots and their governments, but vaccine resistance in the United States is more widespread and vehement, particularly among conservatives, and falls more sharply along partisan lines. The E.U. vaccination effort has slowed recently, but not like the U.S. drive, which has declined more than 80 percent.

Also of interest: NYT managed to squeeze in a bar chart race, a Marimekko chart, and a beeswarm chart all in the same article. That’s gotta be a record for them.

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How time use changed in 2020

Ben Casselman and Ella Koeze for The New York Times compared time use in 2020 against time use in 2019, among different demographic groups.

As we know, the pandemic affected everyone differently. The slope charts show overall averages, so it would be an interesting next step to look at more granular variations. I suspect you’d see more pronounced shifts.

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Rate of change in Covid-19 cases

We’re all familiar with the Covid-19 line charts that show cases over time, which highlights absolute counts. There are peaks. There are some valleys. Emory Parker for STAT shifted the focus to how quickly the rate is changing, or acceleration, to emphasize which direction rates are headed.

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