COVID-19 lockdown: The past year in charts and maps

Country/area: Philippines

Organisation: Rappler

Organisation size: Small

Publication date: 16/03/2021

Credit: Michael Bueza


Michael Bueza is a data curator under Rappler’s Tech Team. He is an IT graduate who joined Rappler in 2013 after working for a top IT company. He was part of the Research Team before he took on his current role. He usually works on data about elections, governance, and the budget. ​

Project description:

This story looked back on important statistics and observations a year since the Philippines instituted lockdown measures first in Metro Manila then in the entire Luzon island days later, to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.

In a series of charts and maps, the story showed that Metro Manila was the top source of new cases, and significant upticks also happened in some regions. ​

Impact reached:

The story showed patterns that emerged during the different waves of the infection in the country in the past year, like the spikes in cases and hospitalizations that emerged in many regions. It also outlined snapshots of the government’s response to COVID-19, like quarantine classifications based on the situation per location.

The story also came at a time when the Philippines was just beginning to roll out COVID-19 vaccines to priority groups.

Techniques/technologies used:

We used Google Sheets and Microsoft Excel to encode the data, then connect it to Datawrapper and Flourish for the graphs and maps. We also embedded data from Our World in Data to track the status of vaccination in Asia.

What was the hardest part of this project?

The story was manageable to write because the data came from the government’s publicly available dataset. There was a bit of difficulty in tying the story together to make it digestible for readers, but that was eventually hurdled.

What can others learn from this project?

With the government releasing COVID-19 data to researchers and data analysts, we should continue looking at the numbers, spot important or emerging patterns, raise what the data lacks or isn’t telling yet, and put everything in context to help the readers, the government, and the public navigate their response and adjustments to the ongoing pandemic.

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