The million cases of coronavirus in Spain Visual guide: this is how we got here

Country/area: Spain

Organisation: elDiario.es

Organisation size: Big

Publication date: 21 Oct 2020

Credit: Raúl Sánchez, Ana Ordaz, Victòria Oliveres

Project description:

Using a longform infographic we visualised the one million coronavirus cases that Spain achieved in october. Using the page scroll as a timeseries, we visualised each coronavirus case registered as a dot and mixed it with contextual information about Covid-19 in Spain and around the world.   

Impact reached:

We have been informing every day of the coronavirus pandemic evolution in Spain. However, this one million cases visualization put the toll in context and increased the awareness of what this dimension of the infection meant. One of each 50 Spaniards were confirmed as covid cases: a figure that shows the transmission power of the coronavirus, an idea that is very difficult to see in your head. This piece made many readers realize how many people had been infected since the start of the pandemic.

Techniques/technologies used:

The main visualisation of this article is a long infographic where each dot represents a covid infection registered in Spain. We created it using Javascript, Canvas and D3 and included annotations inside the same code to highlight time periods and other important contextual information. Afterwards, we replicated the same process to visualise the deaths and hospitalizations that had been counted up to that point. 

What was the hardest part of this project?

The project is a result of an everyday work of building a database with the coronavirus cases, deaths and hospitalizations in Spain. The part of the project that took most of our time was being persistent and consistent when building the database so after it was easier to find the contextual information to add to our visualization. 
Another difficult step was to get the idea about how to visualize something (covid cases) that we were “normal” in every day news, so it could still be interesting to the audience. In a new and original way that helped them to understand the scale of the pandemic in Spain.

What can others learn from this project?

Although it sometimes feels that everything has been explained and visualized before, sometimes you have to get creative. Explaining the same with different visualizations, more context and more perspective sometimes makes the information more relevant and interesting.

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