Friday, October 30, 2020

The Color of Covid


In the United States 21.1% of all fatalities from COVID-19 have been Black. This is despite the fact that Black Americans make up just 12.3% of the total population. In Chicago 72% of Covid deaths have been Black residents. Black Americans make up just 30% of Chicago's population. It is clear that for whatever reason Covid-19 is a virus which in the United States disproportionately effects Black citizens.

The Color of Covid is a dot density map showing the locations of Covid victims in Chicago. On the map every dot is colored to show the race of the Covid victim.The Color of Covid is therefore a powerful mapped visualization of how Covid-19 is disproportionately effecting the Black community in Chicago. 

However to be truly useful I can't help thinking that this map needs a lot more data.Ever since the disproportionate number of Black Americans falling victim to Covid-19 was first noticed people have been struggling to understand why. Among the most convincing theories are that Black Americans are less likely to be able to work from home, are less able to take sick leave, have to rely more on public transport and are more likely to be working in poorly ventilated workplaces. 

If the Color of Covid map included data on the racial mix of Chicago neighborhoods and on average incomes we might be able to explore some of these theories. For example this data might help us to understand if black Americans living in poorer neighborhoods are being effected disproportionately more from Covid-19 than Black Americans living in the city's richer neighborhoods?

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