COVID-19 Data Visualizations - Data, Infographics, Dashboards, and Models

6 minute read

Originally published on Abt Associates’ Insights Blog

Every time I try to embark on typical work-work right now, I hear the old joke echoing in my head, “…other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?”

One of the helpful ways I’ve found to cope is to try and understand — to unpack the data and see what’s happening, and to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Helpfully, my colleagues here at Abt are of a similar mind, and we’ve been passing around links, models, datasets, and infographs.

This week has seen a flurry of nascent discussions about data, data visualization, and the various models that are being looked at to address COVID-19. We wanted to highlight just a few (this is far from exhaustive) that have come across our attention at Abt Associates as we work to coordinate responses with our various partners, clients, and the .

Important note: There are careful about sites you visit and prompts to “download additional software.” And as a disclaimer, in addition to some of the most fantastic and up-to-date data reporting I’ve seen in my lifetime, there is a lot of misinformation out there as well. Some great places to inoculate yourself and others against misinformation are this Wikipedia page devoted exclusively to misinformation, the Snopes coronavirus page, and the page as well.


Data Streams


Deadliest Pandemics Infographic

Flattening the Curve

This section needs its own newsletter. This term has entered the lexicon faster than anything I’ve ever seen. And it’s maybe one of the best examples I’ve seen of data visualization in action to change behavior. There have been so many recent variations. There’s even a write-up about the history of the chart itself.

What’s been incredible to see is the various creative commons and sharing folks are putting on their products. It’s about getting the word out.

Flatten the Curve


Johns Hopkins Dashboard

There’s a lot going into all of this – and not everything that will have been created will take in the best data, with the most concern for the nuances of the data itself, or even communicating the right takeaway in the first place. If you’re considering making your own visualization, read this article about some considerations to first think of. Also, this review of dashboards has some really solid links and points in it.


  • Modeling COVID-19 Spread vs Healthcare Capacity — This interactive model of healthcare capacity (made with R Shiny, GitHub here) is quite good (and quite unsettling). Really allows you to demonstrate the “flattening the curve” in simulation form and see the resulting effect.

  • Observable - Quarantine Now — This page and set of related visualizations is incredible not only for its visual display and interactivity, but because it’s also built in Observable, which leverages Jupyter-like notebooks for exploring data and code in real-time.

  • When does Hospital Capacity Get Overwhelmed in USA? Germany? — Not an interactive model per se, but a very helpful article walking through various scenarios and assumptions. Great primer if you’re trying to understand what goes into a “model” like this in the first place. Plus there is a Google Sheet with the modeling data itself in all its raw form.


  • WeMakeChange - Coronavirus Tech Handbook — The folks at WeMakeChange have begun compiling a “resource for technologists building things related to the coronavirus outbreak.” It’s written in Google Docs (which seems to be limiting certain sections of contributions due to heavy traffic) with all sorts of good pointers to response, tracking, adapting, medicine & care, public knowledge, community resilience, and even engineering. There are some REALLY solid links in here – and a bunch of folks keep contributing new/specific information. I highly recommend.

Thanks to everyone at Abt who shared links and updates for this post!