7 data visualizations that explain COVID-19

Throughout the last two months, Seattle and King County have been on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. The first COVID-19 case within our borders was confirmed in Snohomish County, Washington on Jan. 21, 2020. The first reported death happened nearly six weeks later at a hospital 15 miles from downtown Seattle. For a month and a half, the virus had spread unabated in our community. And now we are paying the price.

In the time since, the humanity of every individual across the healthcare spectrum has been highlighted. Those in administrative roles have worked non-stop since Friday, Feb. 28, 2020. Those in clinical and supportive roles have taken extra shifts in high-risk environments to make sure all patients get the care they deserve. We have relied on a wonderful matrix made up of healthcare, government and private industry to better understand and diminish the impact this virus is having on our community.

This is not the flu. COVID-19 is a different kind of deadly. It camouflages in the healthy as nothing more than a bad cough, but for the elderly and immunocompromised, it’s the source of mass graves in Iran and overflowing obituaries in Italian newspapers.

Surprisingly, one the most important tools we’ve relied on is data visualization. Although paragraphs filled with numbers can tell a story, a picture is worth 1,000 words, and a gif 10 times more than that. What follows is a list of 7 data visualizations that can help you tell the story of just how serious this pandemic is.

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