The COVID-19 pandemic has, more than anything in recent history, exposed the best and worst of humanity as we struggle to maintain public health at the expense of the economy. It has forced millions of people into making difficult decisions, whether it’s regarding their family, their business, their communities, and in the case of world leaders: the entire well being of a country. But how do we justify our decisions? How do we balance our risk tolerance for health and finances? And how can we be sure that our actions are driving us closer to our end goals? The short answer is data. The long answer, however, requires a deep dive into the intricacies of how we gather, visualize, and analyze data in order to guide decisions and understand the consequences of our actions. In this post we’ll explore Farlinium’s COVID-19 Dashboard developed by using modern Analytics capabilities using our technology partner Qrvey and Amazon Web Services (AWS).
The importance of accurate data sources that are reliably maintained.
Good decisions begin with good data. Before implementing any data visualizations, one must ask: how accurate and reliable is my data? Is it complete and granular? And the often overlooked question: is my data relevant? If we take a closer look at our COVID dashboard, you’ll notice that there are several layers of data aggregation. At the top level, the dashboard utilizes a complete COVID-19 dataset maintained by Our World in Data. The dataset itself is adequately granular and complete, with 41 different metrics related to both daily COVID and demographic data for over 200 countries. The extensive granularity avoids misleading summarization of data that can lead to presumptuous conclusions. For example, one might assume that a given country has a poor handling over the viral outbreak based on total cases alone, but it’s important to look at such metrics within the context of their total population, stringency index, or many of the other metrics available in a granular dataset. Moreover, within the second layer, it should be noted that Our World in Data diligently maintains the dataset with daily updates and corrections regarding the latest COVID data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). Additionally, it sources the demographic data from reputable sources such as the United Nations and World Bank, all of which is transparently available throughout their documentation.
Leverage modern technology to connect and visualize near real time data.
Now that we’ve sourced a high quality dataset, how can we maximize the most valuable characteristic of our data, the relevance and frequency at which it’s updated? The answer is simple, but not necessarily easy. Our dashboard is built using Qrvey, a powerful embedded analytics platform entirely on the cloud (using AWS Amazon Web Services). As our preferred BI Analytics partner, Qrvey supplies the tools that help our consultants deploy full featured dashboards very quickly. We couple that technology with our expertise to develop fully automated and embedded solutions to collect and visualize insights using modern cloud environments.
Develop insightful visualizations that help your end users answer questions at speed of thought.
We have the data and it’s ready for analysis, or is it? The great thing about comprehensive datasets is that they facilitate a broad spectrum of visualizations, ranging from the most basic (yet equally important) metrics such as COVID-19 Cases by Date and Continent:
Total and New COVID-19 Cases by Date
COVID-19 Cases by Continent
To deeper insights such as how countries with a female head of state or government have fewer COVID-19 cases per million people compared to their male-ruled counterparts, despite having higher population densities.
Female vs. Male Leadership
However, even properly sourced data has limitations, otherwise how can we explain the following chart illustrating how more democratic countries have more cases per million people compared to authoritarian states?
COVID-19 Cases and Types of Regime
Aren’t democratic states generally more developed and better equipped for a worldwide pandemic? Or do authoritarian governments have a tighter grasp over their people’s freedoms and thus more able to implement stricter lockdowns? In reality however, the answer is most likely none of the above. Upon further research, one can conclude that authoritarian and less developed countries tend to underreport or under detect COVID-19 cases. As a result, the relationship between types of regime and COVID cases varies from country to country. Sometimes, despite our best efforts, the data we want simply isn’t available, and it comes down to the experience of the analyst to recognize the limitations of the data and still make the most of it.
Data doesn’t lie, and even when it does, it sheds light on truths that we didn’t even know to look for in the first place. Here at Farlinium, we leverage modern and best-in-class technologies to solve your most demanding analytics needs, and we have the business expertise to help you drive insights from your data to drive ROI and positive business outcomes.