When COVID hit, I went home to my parents. They live in a small conservative town in Idaho. I was worried folks there wouldn’t take it seriously. In the early days, masks were few and far between and people continued on with life.
While watching the theater of CNN and the fire hose of numbers tumbling out of Rachel Maddow’s mouth, I thought people have no context for these numbers. Yes, they are humans, but how does one visualize the quantity of the loss of life?
One of my favorite data comparisons is to compare the population of my hometown to sports stadiums. For example, you can fit the entirety of Lewiston, Idaho1 and Clarkston, Washington 2 (the town across the river) into Yankee Stadium3 and still have room for 14, 206 people. It really seems to get the point across.
As the COVID death toll grew, I applied this same thinking to the populations of towns in each state.