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Coronavirus: insight in data overload

Complex problems can't be explained with simple numbers.

While we wait for life to return to normal, we focus on the big COVID-19 numbers we see in the media - infection, recovery and death rates. But what do they mean? Are today's stats better or not? Is it even worth watching the news?

An app educates.By exploring and comparing different facets of the data, you can test your hypotheses and develop arguments. Soundbite stats have the opposite effect, drawing debate to the 'what', without insight into the 'why'.

Check out these three Coronavirus apps (click on the images to launch them)

The first was developed by Culture of Insight alumnus Paul Campbell in his new role at Medecins Sans Frontieres. Using a combination of map, table and charts it does more justice to the complexity of Coronavirus data than the one-hit-wonder charts and maps that most media outlets only have space for.

\You can toggle between different data sources for as complete a view as data allow, zoom charts to time periods and overlay 'moments' like Government decisions on otherwise linear data.

The second app was developed by Culture of Insight's own Roke Alvarez Masso and presented in Spanish. This one makes great use of colour and flags, and insightfully presents incidence rate (casos por habitantes) as well as raw infection rates.

Finally, this one is the 'daddy', at least in terms of being the journalist's go-to resource for Coronavirus data. From John Hopkins University in the US, it's inevitably US-focussed but does a fine job of the rest of the world where data are available. The dark grey background communicates the seriousness of the situation very well but I feel it's a bit too "big number" -heavy.

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