[A Grim Design Challenge]

COVID-19 Memorial Ticker (Preview) 01/22/2022

It’s 2022 and It’s Not Over

As I looked at our COVID-19 Memorial Ticker I came to the realization that we faced a grim design challenge: How to modify the interface to accommodate a pair of statistics that approach 8,000 deaths

We might think we are “done” with the pandemic but the pandemic is certainly not “done” with us.  As the developers of the COVID-19 Impact Project, John Henry and I look at the numbers a lot. Late at night on January 22, 2022, while working on materials for the “Extracting Stories from Data” course at New York University, I noticed something peculiar… As the ticker trudged backwards from the statistics of 01/21/2022 to 01/20/2022 and then on to 01/19/2022… we ran out of space in the ticker window. The number of pixels that we use to represent each life for the two days: 01/21/22 and 01/19/22 COULD NOT ALL FIT in our ticker window.

JanSnapshot Memorial Ticker
January 17-21 Snapshot Memorial Ticker Web Preview

Just about a month or so shy of the first reported CDC COVID-19 death in the United States (according to data retrieved from Johns Hopkins University), and more than 1 year since vaccines have been available to Americans, it has been one of the most grim weeks of COVID-19 deaths.

COVID-19 Memorial Ticker at NYU Tisch/ITP
COVID-19 Memorial Ticker at NYU Tisch/ITP Snapshot on January 26, 2022 1:31PM. Photo taken as we were arriving at ITP

USA Deaths 01/17/2022 – 01/21/2022

The numbers below represent reported COVID-19 deaths across the country.  You can explore the data further by visiting our COVID-19 Impact Dashboard.

  • Friday 01/21/22:  3,567 – 35% of the worldwide deaths
  • Thursday 01/20/22:  2,479 – 27% of worldwide deaths
  • Wednesday 01/19/22:  3,810 – 36% of worldwide deaths
  • Tuesday 01/18/22:  1,898 – 22% of worldwide deaths
  • Monday 01/17/22: 1,147 – 18% of worldwide deaths
  • Total: 12,901

The US population is not 18% or 36% of the global population. We are less than 5% (approximately 4.4%) of the world’s people. These statistics for a disease whose fatality can be mitigated by widely available effective vaccines, should alarm us.

Even considering the flaws in the data (ex underreporting by some countries) this is concerning. Reports about the”mildness” of the Omicron variant should not lull us into a feeling of complacency. There are still many daily deaths – many of them preventable. We should stay vigilant, get vaccinated and get booster shots if eligible.

USA Total Deaths to Date Shown Above. Source, JHU
USA Experiencing an outsized share of global deaths on many days. COVID-19 Impact Dashboard

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