A Data Visualization Newsletter

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148 Covid

As the number of coronavirus cases grows in the U.S., we heard from many people that wanted a better way to track how the virus is affecting their local communities. So we built this tool with a focus on how the number of new cases and deaths are trending by U.S. county. It relies on data from The New York Times, who has been engaged in a massive effort to document every case of COVID-19 in America. It will refresh daily, as new data becomes available.

Our Favorite Stuff

148 Travel

The airline industry has taken a major hit the last few weeks, as travel essentially halts due to the outbreak. FlightAware, which tracks air traffic, reported that there were roughly 280,000 flights across the world between March 24 and March 30, down from 500,000 the same week last year. This piece from Reuters walks through how devastating the global travel restrictions have been.

148 Jail

Containing the coronavirus’s spread in the U.S. is a tall order, perhaps nowhere more so than in jails. Roughly 200,000 people flow into and out of America’s jails each week, allowing for an incredible commingling of germs. Jails also tend to keep people in close quarters, often with dormitory-style beds and group bathrooms. Some sheriffs have resorted to trying to “de-densify” their jails by having officers write citations for misdemeanors and pushing for “compassionate release” of non-violent offenders.

148 Model

You may have noticed that experts’ projections for the coronavirus outbreak vary enormously. Some think the death toll in the U.S. could be a few hundred thousand or less; others predict much larger numbers. FiveThirtyEight has so far resisted the urge to build a model for COVID-19’s impact, mainly because it’s really hard. In this article, FiveThirtyEight’s team discusses the key variables that factor into a model and the uncertainty surrounding them.

148 Spanish

Even as the number of coronavirus cases grows in the U.S., the total size of the outbreak still pales in comparison to the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918. The death toll reached between 50 and 100 million people worldwide in that outbreak, including an estimated 500,000 Americans. But some cities, like St. Louis, Milwaukee, and New York, fared significantly better than others in stemming the virus’s spread. The key to their success? Social distancing practices.

148 Census

In non-coronavirus news, The Pudding debuted a new project on its site last week. Alec Barrett dives deep into the history of the U.S. Census, tracing the survey’s length and the types of questions asked through time. The project provides a unique view into how the government’s priorities have evolved each decade, especially as Americans fill out the 2020 edition.