This is an interesting thread, but I had a different take on this point.

The trouble with large numbers is that they are hard for the human mind to comprehend. (1/4)
Sure, half a million deaths sounds like a lot, but can you really picture that many people? Because it's hard to imagine statistics like this there is a risk that we detach from them. They can sometimes leave us feeling numb because they are hard to visualise. (2/4)
This graphic helps us to grapple with this number. By doing so I don't think it's making it "emotionally manageable". For me it's doing the opposite by getting me closer to understanding the scale of the tragedy. It activates compassion because it helps me to imagine it (3/4)
Some of the victims' stories are dwelt on in the accompanying article, reminding us of the individual tragedies behind this national one. Perhaps this should have been done on the graphic too (4/4)

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More from @_rospearce

8 Apr 20
With low testing rates, how do we estimate the true number of covid-19 cases? A new study uses flu-like illnesses (besides the flu) as a proxy

These illnesses have surged in the US: from March 8-28th they found an estimated 23m more cases than expected from historical data (1/4)
Crucially, these illnesses follow a similar geographic pattern to covid-19 cases (2/4)
This may sound worrying, but if covid-19 has spread more quickly than is commonly thought, it suggests that it has a lower death rate.

Read the analysis by my colleague @DanRosenheck in this week's @TheEconomist (3/4)…
Read 4 tweets

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