Unexpectedly Intriguing!
March 5, 2020

COVID-19, or as its perhaps better known, the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), or just "the coronavirus" has become the subject of intense analysis around the world. Digesting all that data and presenting it in useful ways to communicate how many people have contracted the virus, how many have died, how many have recovered, and how fast it is spreading is likewise presenting challenges to analysts.

The difficulty of that challenge is why we appreciate top notch data visualization efforts wherever we find them, and why the work of the infographic analysts at the South China Morning Post stands out in particular. Focusing on their home city of Hong Kong, which through the morning of 4 March 2020 reported a total of 102 confirmed cases, their presentation communicates a wealth of information about the progress of the viral infection within the special administrative region by day using a visualization format we're calling "The Tower of Hong Kong", which might be a model for other cities combating the virus to follow in communicating its impact and progress to their communities.

South China Morning Post - Number of Coronavirus Cases by Day, 23 January 2020 through 4 March 2020

You could then combine the skyscraper tower charts for multiple cities into a single skyline chart to visually compare the relative spread of coronavirus infections among them, where height communicates the total number of days the infection has lasted in each, the width of the towers indicates how many cases each has had, and the changing width of each story how fast the virus was recorded to be spreading among each city's population.

That's not all the impressive work the data visualization wizards at the SCMP have done. Through 3 March 2020, they've also diagrammed the first 100 confirmed cases of coronavirus infections in Hong Kong, revealing much more information about the people who have been diagnosed with it and the relationships between them to describe how these cases spread. It's large enough that we won't attempt to do a screen capture to present it here, but do check it out at the SCMP's site to see it and their latest updates to the Tower of Hong Kong chart.

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