Continuing my article on Data Visualization: Helping flatten the curve on COVID-19 I wanted to touch more on data visualization and how it can be deceiving our revealing about what the data actually says. During this time we should be spreading accurate information and not fear. We should be warning the public on what proper precautions we should be making and how we will all come out of this together. I also apologize if this article insults anyone, my sole purpose of writing this is to help inform.
An example of a deceiving data visualization is a chart by Infobeautiful it first shows that the United States now has the most amount of cases in the world. Pretty scary. But if you continue onto the other page, you see because of our sheer size in population, our cases per million of people is only 248, Switzerland having 1,365 cases per million. I think that gives a much better picture of how it is spreading throughout the country. You have to dig deeper into the data to show that just because we have the most cases doesn’t mean we’re the country in the more dire state. Also, the chart says the number of deaths per million of people; the U.S. has 4 per every million people infected, and Italy is having 136. It is said that Italy is being hit the hardest because it has a large population of elderly people. I am saddened the effects this virus is having on everyone and grieve the unbelievable amounts of loss, but getting the most accurate amount of information is crucial and can help us stop this virus in its tracks.
Another way to analyze the data for Covid-19 is to compare it to other pandemics the world has faced in the past (warning taking a depressing turn). In this article, it talks about the history of pandemics and their overall death tolls. The Black Death killed over 200 million people and took out 30-50% of Europe’s population placing it at the number 1 deadliest pandemic. Followed by Smallpox, and then by Spanish flu. One of the pandemics that still is technically going on and stood out to me is HIV/AIDS, which has killed anywhere from 25-35 Million people. Also remember “Swine 09”? As fellow survivor of that flu, I was shocked to see it killed as many as 200K people. Back to the present, as of March 30, 2020, Covid-19 has a death toll of 35.1K, some scientists think we will be peaking in about a week or so, so, unfortunately, this will become much worse before it gets better.
Another thing to consider is looking at other diseases that are causing deaths every day. According to this chart, Tuberculosis kills 3,014 people daily. Hepatitis B kills 2,430. The seasonal flu still stands at a death rate of 1,027 per day. This chart is from March 9th so it’s a little outdated, but I can only guess over a length of time a total death count will rise but the daily average will go down. The COVID-19 outbreak will go away, but things like Tuberculosis, hepatitis, HIV/AIDS will still remain as diseases we need to combat. Staying correctly informed and distancing ourselves is the best practice for this current pandemic. So don’t just listen to what charts or reporters are telling you. Double-check their sources and try to read between the lines and make your own assumptions of what the actual information is that they tell you. Take advantage of online resources. I took a dance class yesterday (see below) virtually, and let me tell you, I was SWEATING.