Tuesday, February 23, 2021

A Dot Map of Half a Million Covid Deaths

Almost half a million people have now died from Covid-19 in the United States. Yesterday, in Visualizing Half a Million Deaths, I looked at how data journalists at the New York Times and the Washington Post have attempted to visualize the scale of the tragedy experienced over the last year. 

Both the NYT and the Post have created data visualizations which attempt to portray the scale of half a million deaths to their readers. In 500,000 Lives Lost NBC News has taken a different approach, using an interactive map to visualize where those 500,000 victims of Covid lived. The map plots half a million red dots, each dot representing one death from the coronavirus. 

The map includes a scollytelling element which provides a chronological view of the spread of Covid-19 across the United States over the last year - beginning with the first reported U.S. death in Washington state on Feb. 29th 2020 (although it was later revealed that the first Covid-19 death occurred a few weeks earlier in Santa Clara, California). As you scroll through the story the map moves to different locations to explore where significant outbreaks have happened during the course of the pandemic.

If you scroll to the end of NBC's story you can actually explore the map for yourself. Enter an address or zip-code and you can view the number of deaths at your chosen location via the density of red dots on the map. The dots don't reveal the actual addresses of individual victims of Covid-19. The location of the dots are randomized within each census block area.

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