Covid cases, animated

I've been both awed and terrified by the transmissibility of Omicron and the speed at which it's spread. As the case curves hockey-sticked upward and the maps all turned red, I thought it'd be interesting to visualize the spread of this new twist on the coronavirus.

So the other day, while doing some work mapping Covid-19 data by US counties, I realized it wouldn't take much to generate a map for each day of the pandemic ... and make those maps into a movie.

It almost seems like cheating to use a work project as one of my "Make Every Week" projects, but I'm lucky to have a job where creative tinkering is celebrated. When I shared a tinker-made movie of six months of case data with colleagues Kaeti Hinck and Sean O'Key, they thought it would make a good data feature for CNN.

While truly a horrible topic — nearly every county is now reporting more than 100 cases per 100,000 people — the process of turning that case data into a movie was a worthy project. I learned a lot, and I did it almost entirely from the command line (the text-only interface that is my Mac's "Terminal" program).