Creators of the John Hopkins coronavirus tracker told The Washington Post that the numbers tell a more shocking story on the way the coronavirus is impacting different communities in the US.
The database used to track cases in the US, features three additional sets of information that help paint a better image of what was unfolding in different states and counties.
Statistics obtained from the data showed that communities of color, specifically those that were low income, were disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.
The creators are hoping viewers are able to see past the initial numbers and understand how different people are experiencing what’s happening.
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While millions may be keeping track of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic using a tool from John Hopkins University that gathers numbers on how many have been infected, the creators say viewers are missing some important points amidst all the data, The Washington Post reported.
“Numbers in some ways instill this sense of comfort. But then, on the other hand, they can be wrong,” Lauren Gardner, the associate professor at Johns Hopkins’s Whiting School of Engineering told The Post. “And they can be wrong for lots of different reasons.
According to The Post, the team of researchers behind the tracker is concerned that policymakers and the public are not seeing how the pandemic is impacted by things like healthcare, racial disparities, and income inequality in the US.
“This is the first time data has been such a central part of the narrative,” Beth Blauer, the executive director of Johns Hopkins University’s Centers for Civic Impact told The Post. “The human connection — I think we need more of that in the larger national narrative. It just feels like the compassion is getting lost.”
According to The Post, the project began when Gardener advised first-year Ph.D. student Ensheng Dong to start a map tracking the cases in January. Dong had lived through the 2003 SARS outbreak and closely followed what was happening with the coronavirus. He was aware that each person infected or who died from the virus could be a classmate or close friend.
“I wanted to use my experience to collect data to show the public,” Dong said. “And the first member of the public was me.”
While the project wasn’t intended to be as large as it ended up, Doug spent 12 hours a day collecting data and strategically showing it.
“I wanted to alarm people that the situation was getting worse,” Doug told the Post about his use of a black background and red dots.
When creators made a US database alongside the initial global database, the numbers they eventually saw told a horrifying story of what was really happening in America.
For instance, the tracker found that while Black Americans were less than half of Washington, DC’s population, they accounted for three-fourths of the coronavirus deaths; and in Arizona, Native Americans accounted for 18% of deaths but make up only 5% of the population.
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Source:: Business Insider