Friday, June 26, 2020

How America Was Lost to Covid-19

The New York Times has published a damning story map which visualizes America's failure to stop the spread of Covid-19. In How the Virus Won the NYT shows how a few thousand cases of Covid-19 in February was over the next few months able to spread almost unchecked across the United States. Using animated flow maps the newspaper effectively shows how a lack of leadership and a failure to act quickly enough allowed Covid-19 to spread to all parts of the USA.

As you progress through the NYT's story map you can see the number of Covid-19 cases spreading across the country, while the NYT explains why the virus has not been contained. One of the major reasons why the USA has failed to 'flatten the curve' is that public officials have always been a few steps behind the outbreak. Mainly because they have been led by a President who has been determined to ignore the threat of the virus to people's lives.

Early on Donald Trump decided that he didn't want to disrupt the economy. For example in February the U.S. government told their citizens to continue traveling domestically and to continue with their normal lives. In How the Virus Won the NYT shows how the public did exactly that. Using mobile phone data the newspaper visualizes how millions of Americans moved around the country in the first two weeks of March. Many of them undoubtedly spreading coronavirus around the United States.

For example the NYT has used genetic samples to show how the virus spread from Seattle and New York to infect people across the United States. The NYT's conclusion is clear. If the United States had introduced lock-down and social distancing earlier '36,000 deaths nationwide could have been avoided'.

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