Welcome back to another recap of our livestream series, If Data Could Talk! Each episode, data experts from the community share resources you can read, watch, or listen to around the topic of data literacy. This episode features co-hosts Andy Cotgreave, Technical Evangelist at Tableau, and Amanda Makulec, MPH, Senior Data Visualization Lead at Excella, along with Steve Schwartz, Director of Public Affairs at Tableau, and special guest Jennifer Tolbert, Director of State Health Reform at Kaiser Family Foundation.
To simplify or not to simplify
First off, Andy and Amanda start the episode by taking a look at some of the thought-provoking visualizations they’ve seen in the media. Andy brings up a chart from The Economist that measures excess deaths—the number of total deaths that exceed the number of expected deaths—due to COVID-19. He shares his thoughts on simplifying the chart, based on the insights that caught his attention. Watch the segment here.
Amanda shares why she would keep the chart as is, foregoing Andy’s suggested changes. One reason is that she appreciates the context of The Economist’s chart—including the burden of mortality in different countries, the shape of the trends, and their focus on the story around excess deaths. Watch the segment here.
Using data to shape the public health response
Next up, Steve interviews Jennifer to find out how Kaiser Family Foundation is using COVID-19 data to help inform decisions around the public health response. From the metrics they’re looking at to how they approach uncertainty in the data, Jennifer shares important insights from her team’s analyses. Watch the segment here.
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