Using the Power of Data to Track COVID-19’s Impact on State Legislation
April 9, 2020
One of the common themes that is present in almost every single news briefing in regards to COVID-19 has been the reliance and usage of data as the basis to making quick and impactful decisions. The prevalent data points which are covered heavily are mostly focused around geography and the related number of cases, deaths, and projections to show when we will see a flattening of the pandemic curve: which are undeniably critical and impactful and need to be continually monitored on a global scale. As this is occurring, our Data Analytics team looked for ways to find and present different data sets that may correlate and help understand the business impact of decisions that are being made on a federal and state level. Many organizations are currently facing a great deal of adversity with the uncertainty of COVID-19 related illness, coordination of remote work teams, and a potential stall in new/existing revenue streams. In an effort to assist business owners (both local and national), SC&H has gathered data related to COVID-19 cases, state laws on COVID-19, current stay at home state mandates, and state school closures as a means to provide a single dashboard to review by state and help support any actions needed to stay thriving in the current economy.
Earlier this year, most initial COVID-19 data collection & visualization was maintained by John Hopkins’ Center for Systems Science and Engineering (JHU CSSE)[i]. From there, many organizations began to use this accredited source in conjunction with local & national level news sources to provide COVID-19 updates to their internal & external customers.
For our dataset, we first use Tableau’s COVID-19 jumpstart [ii]; we selected this as our primary source because of the integration of data from World Health Organization (WHO), Center for Disease Control (CDC), and many other organizations globally[iii].
At SC&H, we wanted enhance our presentation of COVID-19 data by showing how this epidemic is affecting communities. To do this, we used different data to bring new light to state action details on COVID-19; specifically, the status of current legislation standing on the front lines of this epidemic. The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) has provided this data & continues to update the status of legislation daily[iv].
Next, we wanted to provide our community with details related to state stay at home mandates, as well as the status and effective dates of school closures. Stay at home mandate news is being updated regularly by NY Times[v]; Closures & the status of schools is being updated regularly by Education Week[vi].
Like JHU CSSE’s popular interactive web-based dashboard, SC&H has also provided details to visualize and track reported cases in near real time. On a continental US level, SC&H allows the viewer to see the weekly historical data, as well as allow the viewer to see state-wide views by total cases or by new cases. Additionally when hovering over a state, you can see the breakout by cases and deaths in each state.
To enhance SC&H’s COVID-19 Dashboard, the viewer can click on a state and see all legislation related to COVID-19, the status of the legislation, and access URL links to take you to the state’s local web page detailing all historical actions made to the law. We felt that it was important to merge both the medical details originally provided by JHU CSSE’s with local legislation to allow the user to easily track important laws supporting their community, which will in turn impact businesses operating in those areas.
Lastly, when the viewer hovers over a state, KPI’s indicating the date that the state has mandated a stay at home order, the date schools were close by the state, and the state of school closures is readily available for the viewer to access. We felt that in addition to state legislation, having the ability to quickly access these additional mandates helps the viewer understand what is going on in their community.
It is without a doubt unprecedented times we currently are living our day to day lives. At SC&H, we felt we could add to the COVID-19 discussion by visualizing local legislation and state information to support our communities. We want to continue to partner with our community to ensure that we provide you with up to date information, providing expertise where we can, & collectively bring together other expert knowledge to share in the effort. For additional information, SC&H is continuing to update our Coronavirus Resource Center.
If you’d like to get in touch with the team behind the dashboard, or have any questions — please reach out to us here.
Due to the ongoing new coverage, data sources will continue to change.
- [i] For additional information from JHU CSSE, they created a GitHub updated regularly at this URL: https://github.com/CSSEGISandData/COVID-19
- [ii] Tableau has provided an excellent source of cleansed & validated data in their resource hub here: https://www.tableau.com/covid-19-coronavirus-data-resources
- [iii] For a detailed introduction to JHU CSSE’s research methods, here is an article https://systems.jhu.edu/research/public-health/ncov/
- [iv] NCSL – State Action on Coronavirus (COVID-19): https://www.ncsl.org/research/health/state-action-on-coronavirus-covid-19.aspx
- [v] “See Which States and Cities Have Told Residents to Stay at Home”, NY Times: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/us/coronavirus-stay-at-home-order.html
- [vi] “Map: Coronavirus and School Closures”: https://www.edweek.org/ew/section/multimedia/map-coronavirus-and-school-closures.html