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BdTD | Deutschland | Coronavirus · zu Hause bleiben
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/S. Hoppe

Coronavirus: Visualizations on social distancing

Elizabeth Grenier
March 16, 2020

It might be difficult for some people, especially children, to understand why we all of a sudden have to isolate. A look at some of the online content that can help explain why it's key.

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In school one day, then told to avoid all social contacts the next? It's certainly difficult for children to understand why this is necessary. They need to know that self-isolation is not about panic and fear, but rather a social responsibility that everyone needs to take seriously.

Among one of the most simple ways to illustrate this is the animation created by artist Juan Delcan, which is widely shared on social media: A row of matches light each other, until one of them steps aside to break the domino effect.

"Do your part and stay home. It's all we can do," Delcan wrote in his original Tweet.

The city of Vienna has created a webvideo for children, giving them basic recommendations. It's in German, but English subtitles are available:

Twitter user Ama, who describes herself as a professional doodler, used in a series of sketches the metaphor of overfilled glasses to depict why it's important to have fewer people getting the infection within a month, because hospitals can only treat a restricted number of patients during that period of time.

 

A week ago, the main preventive measure recommended to everyone was washing hands. Now, many countries have ramped up their measures to restrict the population's movements. Beyond the hashtag #FlattenTheCurve that was trending last week, we should all make concrete efforts to #StopTheSpread.

This visualization by New Zealand microbiologist Dr. Siouxsie Wiles contrasts how "no collective response" compares to a "strong collective response," the latter reducing the number of cases of infection. She also adds a third graph, showing that a short-term collective response is not enough.

A series of simulations created by Washington Post data reporter Harry Stevens demonstrates the importance of social distancing.

The first one shows what happens if nothing is done to stop the spread, while the second illustrates the fact that "We could try to implement a forced quarantine, but it's gonna be hard to pull off."

 

He therefore shows with two simulations what happens when less people are circulated. One of them reproduces what happens when "only a quarter of the balls can move." A fourth simulation by Stevens shows what happens if only 1/8 of the balls are moving.The more people participate in social distancing, the more it is effective. 

For teens, getting the message from their favorite stars may also contribute to them understanding why social distancing really matters.

Ariana Grande, for instance, reminded her 72 million Twitter followers that the situation has completely changed within a few weeks and that we can no longer "turn a blind eye," as she wrote. 

 

The Beatles — or at least one of their fans — are also contributing to spreading the message with this slightly modified version of the iconic Abbey Road cover.

 

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