Data blogger makes daily sense of Covid for Swindon residents
Swindonian Clarifying Covid Data
The stream of numbers and graphs related to the Covid-19 pandemic has been confusing. But members of three Swindon Facebook groups have benefitted from Swindonian Craig’s efforts to clarify Covid data for them.
For almost 12 months, Craig Alexander’s updates have attracted an increasing following amongst those keen to make sense of the data soup and flood of commentary served up by different mass media sources.
Italian resident, but Swindon-born and raised, Craig attended Ferndale Infants and Juniors. He then went to Moredon Secondary and Hreod Burna Senior High schools. Craig is putting to excellent use his university background in economics, statistics and quantitative archaeology. With it he turns Covid infection rates into maps, tables and graphs. With those graphs he tracks the level of virus infections. And that gets a better picture of the local situation.
Craig has posted his contributions daily on the West Swindon Community Facebook page since early April 2020. And also, in more recent months, on Facebook’s Swindon Community Notice Board and the new Swindon Social Society Page.
The Italian job
Covid-19 hit Italy hard in February and March 2020. They went into lockdown weeks earlier than Britain. That meant Craig had time on his hands to apply his data and mapping skills in a new direction.
He said: ‘I’ve been living in Brescia for about a decade. During the early phases of the pandemic it was easy, through friends in Italian local government, to get access to data about new cases. I’ve been analysing and mapping data for 30 years. Pandemics are inherently spatial so it seemed sensible to map the spread of the virus”. Craig then discovered similar spatial data on the pandemic for England at coronavirus.data.gov.uk.
So he set about mapping the spread both for national and local levels.
A chance encounter
Through a chance online meeting with Roger Ogle, founder of Swindon Link magazine, Craig found an opportunity to share his pandemic analyses with other Swindonians.
He currently provides daily charts of new cases and cumulative cases for Swindon local authority. And, alongside that, more granular maps of data on moving seven-day windows of cases at the Middle Layer Super Output Area (MSOA). That’s an area of land defined for Census purposes that tends to house about 7,200 people.
Roger Ogle, who set up the West Swindon Community Facebook page more than four years ago, said:
Craig’s voluntary commitment to helping people understand local levels of infection has been remarkable. During a confusing and stressful year it’s been even more so. His maps, graphs and tables, along with short analytical commentary, have enlightened group members. To do this every day since early April last year has been amazing.’
To interview Craig Alexander for press, radio, TV and online, contact him at: ArchaeoDataCam@gmail.com