The Power of Exponential Growth | Data Viz to Simplify Complexity

There has been a lot of heartbreak around the world with the CV-19 pandemic.
This chart, from NPR, illustrates some cause for optimism. It shows the 7-day average new cases per day across the world.

It is crucial to acknowledge what’s hidden in the aggregated trend above: The impact on individual countries is variable.
A large percentage of humans on the planet remain under threat. We don’t nearly have enough vaccines finding arms. We have to remain vigilant, and commit to getting the entire planet vaccinated.
Recent worries about Covid were increased by the proliferation of virus variants around the world. Variant B.1.1.7 was first identified in the UK. Variant B.1.351 was first identified in South Africa. Variant P.1 in Brazil has 17 unique mutations. The variant identified in India, B.1.617.2, had a particularly devastating impact (see the blue spike above). There are multiple “variants of interest” in the United States, Philippines, Vietnam, and other countries.
A particularly dangerous thing about variants is that they are highly transmissible (evolution, sadly, in action).
Some journalists rush to point out, hey, the death rate remains the same.
I believe this is a mistake. It imprecisely minimizes the danger, and results in some of our fellow humans feeling a false sense of hope. This is possibly due to a lack of mathematical savvy.
As Analysts, you can appreciate that a lay individual might not quite understand the complexity behind infection rates, and the impact on death rates. At the same time all of us, journalists and Analysts have to figure out how to communicate this type of insight in a way that everyone can understand.
This reality is similar to what we face in our business environment every single