Info Graphics Showing Full Impact of Quarantining vs. Socializing (U.S.)
March 20, 2020 7:27 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for information graphics (visual) based on actual data showing the compounding impact of continuing to socialize. Something that shows the entire chain of impact from one case transmitting (to the 2-2.5 others), to that exponential growth, to the percentage needing hospitalization, to the number of health care workers and beds, to the percentage of front line health care workers we can predict getting sick, to the time to overloaded health system, to the increased deaths predicted.

I'm particularly interested in graphics that can be shown and explained to 10-17 year olds, who are struggling to understand what their social isolation truly achieves. So something linear ("if this happens, then this happens, then this happens") may be more understandable than a multi-pronged octopus of a graphic. But I'll take what I can get.

I've seen most graphics in the NYT, WaPo corona simulator, Johns Hopkins covid-19 dashboard, the ESRI state data builder app as well as the Information is Beautiful data pack (which I think is an overly reassuring snapshot in time vs. a predictive model based on what we can extrapolate) and WHO visual fact sheets.

I'm not interested in maps where everything just turns red, nor the flatten the curve graphic, nor how to's about hand washing, etc.

Thanks all - be well.
posted by cocoagirl to Science & Nature (16 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Social Distancing: This is Not a Snow Day (Asaf Bitton, MD, MPH, Medium, Updated Mar. 17, 2020) (via Deciding How Much Distance You Should Keep, Tara Parker-Pope, NYT, Mar. 19, 2020) (via Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health news updates)
The wisdom, and necessity, of this more aggressive, early, and extreme form of social distancing can be found here. I would urge you to take a minute to walk through the interactive graphs – they will drive home the point about what we need to do now to avoid a worse crisis later. Historical lessons and experiences of countries worldwide have shown us that taking these actions early can have a dramatic impact on the magnitude of the outbreak.
posted by katra at 7:47 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]

The Reuters infographic on "patient 31" in South Korea is staggering.
posted by elmay at 8:08 AM on March 20 [5 favorites]

Please read the question. I'm not questioning the need to self-isolate. I am looking for visual graphs, not newspaper articles, to share with kids (mine, their friends, their classmates) to give them an immediate grasp of the positive, outsize impact their isolation (or lack thereof) accomplishes. Visual moral reinforcement that they are making a difference.

On preview - Thanks elmay, that patient 31 graphic has been expanded since I first saw it and is effective.
posted by cocoagirl at 8:16 AM on March 20

This interactive calculator has a lot of variables you can play with, and may be overkill, but the big one is the "day of intervention," which shows the dramatic difference that intervention (ie, isolation) makes.
posted by adamrice at 8:22 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]

The animated simulation graphics in this WaPo article are fantastic to do exactly what you are referring to.
posted by ecorrocio at 8:33 AM on March 20 [5 favorites]

I'm sorry it's not precisely what you're looking for, but I think the Pandemic Footprint Index Quiz would be comprehensible to the age group you're addressing.
posted by jocelmeow at 8:50 AM on March 20

Prof. Akiko Iwasaki @VirusesImmunity Mar 18
There is a lot of talk about #herdimmunity. Vaccination is the only safe way to achieve it. In the absence of vaccine, we need to practice #SocialDistancing.
@BioRender made this amazing infographic to explain how a hypothetical virus spreads through the population. (1/n)

This one might help?
posted by spamandkimchi at 8:53 AM on March 20

There seems to be a potential challenge with your question due to the state of what is scientifically known about the coronavirus, including the exact dynamics of how it is transmitted (Highlights of Expert Panel on COVID-19 from Harvard, MIT, Mass General Hospital, Just Security, Mar. 15, 2020), and while I think I've seen a visual somewhere that may help answer your question that I am still looking for, because I am trying to help you, this article helps explain why it is difficult to find precision for those who want it to understand their individual role in this:

Coronavirus reality check: 7 myths about social distancing, busted (Marc Lipsitch and Joseph Allen, USA Today)
Unfortunately, the United States has nowhere near the number of tests we need. Until that changes, we can test only the sickest cases (and a fraction of all mild cases for surveillance and public health tracking).

[...] Events like the Biogen conference in Boston that sparked an outbreak have rightly focused attention on the potential of mass gatherings to quickly spread coronavirus. Cancellations and postponements of large gatherings like NBA basketball games, Broadway plays, theme parks and the Masters golf tournament are a good first step, but that’s not the end of our responsibility.

[...] From influenza to measles to severe acute respiratory syndrome, we have stark examples of smaller gatherings lighting the spark for larger outbreaks. In fact, the SARS outbreak was seeded in 2003 from a single person in a hotel who transmitted it to 16 others. Remember, this is not about personal risk, which might be relatively low in small social gatherings. This is about population risk. Because of the lack of testing availability to date, we don’t know who has coronavirus. For now, we assume we all might, and we maintain social distancing and avoid indoor gatherings large and small so we are not the spark that generates another outbreak fire.

[...] The scientific community will figure out the relative importance of each mode [of transmission] in time, but for now, we should be taking precautions against all of them. [...] Unfortunately, we are in this for a long haul. We need to prepare to pull together, help one another and preserve social cohesion while we use social distancing to combat the virus.
posted by katra at 8:57 AM on March 20

Found this on
Also r/dataisbeautiful might have some good infographics
posted by i_mean_come_on_now at 9:39 AM on March 20

This one could be a good one to show:
posted by koolkat at 9:47 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]

The Imgur one looks good, koolkat. In fact, I'm going to bookmark this whole post as a go-to for my friends who are parents. A visualization is worth a thousand words, especially for people who are trying to explain the utility of this concept to tweens and teens.
posted by virago at 8:05 PM on March 20

... the percentage needing hospitalization, to the number of health care workers and beds, ... to the time to overloaded health system, to the increased deaths predicted.

How Much Worse the Coronavirus Could Get, in Charts (Nicholas Kristof and Stuart A. Thompson, NYT Opinion)
Chart 1: "If we stay on the current track, this model predicts that roughly a third of Americans – more than 100 million people — could become infected (including more than nine million at one time). Other estimates are higher, up to two-thirds, but even in this scenario, one million could die."

Chart 2: "But interventions matter hugely. Ending public gatherings, closing workplaces and some schools, mass testing and fortifying hospitals keep infection rates down and reduce deaths."

Chart 3: "Here’s that same scenario but shifted so that the interventions begin one month later. The number of infections climbs by more than two million. So it’s not just intervening that’s important — it’s intervening quickly. Yesterday is better than today, which is better than tomorrow."

Try it yourself by dragging the intervention bar on the chart to the left or right to change when interventions are put in place.

Chart 4: "Aggressiveness matters, too. Adjust the severity of the interventions below to see why: Aggressive measures include widespread testing and ending large gatherings, while mild measures are essentially the status quo (although some places are instituting tougher measures)." [Select Mild/Modest/Aggressive]

Chart 5: "What matters is not only the total number of infections but also whether many occur at once. Overloaded hospitals and shortages of ventilators in intensive care units would result in people dying unnecessarily from the coronavirus as well as from heart attacks and other ailments."

Chart 6: "So successful interventions are crucial because they flatten the curve: We are much better off if the 100 million infections occur over 18 months rather than over 18 weeks. Here’s the same number of I.C.U. cases as before, but modeled to occur at a much slower rate."

Any disease model is only as good as the assumptions programmed into it, and there’s so much uncertainty about the coronavirus that we shouldn’t see this model as a precise prediction.
posted by katra at 9:45 PM on March 20

There’s a bit in the middle of this Vox PSA On social distancing which goes at least as far as explaining how the system gets overloaded. The relevant part was being shared on twitter, which is how I came across it.
posted by scorbet at 3:30 AM on March 21

You Can Help Break the Chain of Transmission (Siobhan Roberts, NYT, updated March 20, 2020) (via the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health news updates)
Cutting a Link in the Chain of Transmission

A simple tree diagram shows how limiting contacts early might prevent many infections.
There is also: The Exponential Power of Now (Siobhan Roberts, NYT, Mar. 13, 2020), which is a chart comparing the estimated difference between averting one case now and averting one case in seven days.
posted by katra at 2:28 PM on March 22

How about a couple of animations? I imagine they'd go over well with a crowd of that age.
posted by timepiece at 11:29 AM on March 24

These are great, folks, thanks!
posted by cocoagirl at 2:13 PM on March 26

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