Stats to Help you Breathe illustrations take people’s minds off coronavirus

Lynne M. Centeno

Data journalist and illustrator Mona Chalabi has unveiled a series of limited-edition prints and shared a selection of her illustrations visualising information about coronavirus as part of The World Around’s takeover of Virtual Design Festival for Earth Day.

The three new prints, which Chalabi produced in collaboration with online art gallery Absolut Art for Earth Day, illustrate three facts about the natural world. They are intended to give people pause for thought and take their mind off the coronavirus pandemic.

“Because everything is changing so much day-to-day, I wanted to look for the constants,” said Chalabi.

“It’s not to make you happy exactly, but to provide some comfort as an antidote to the anxiety induced by the world all around us.”

Mona Chalabi Earth Day illustration

One of the prints, titled Rotation, depicts a globe spinning on the end of a person’s finger along with the caption: “In the time it takes you to read this, the earth will have rotated 0.02 degrees.”

“Of course, we know that the earth is spinning every moment of every day but we don’t think about it,” Chalabi said. “But the continuity of our physical laws in a period of such instability and uncertainty feels strangely comforting.”

Another print, called Undulation, draws attention to the regular cresting of waves in the sea, while the third features a flock of lovebirds with the caption: “Each day about 140 lovebirds will learn how to fly.”

Mona Chalabi Earth Day illustration

Chalabi is a London-born writer and artist based in New York who specialises in data visualisation.

The Earth Day prints are a diversion from her previous recent work, which has focussed on providing people with information about coronavirus.

Illustrations depicting facts and figures relating to the pandemic on her Instagram channel have been viewed hundreds of thousands of times.

Here is a selection Chalabi has shared for The World Around‘s takeover of Virtual Design Festival:


Mona Chalabi coronavirus illustration

Danger coronavirus poses in refugee camps

This data visualisation conveys the risk coronavirus poses to refugees living in camps, where people live in extremely crowded conditions. It highlights how crowded refugee camps are compared to the Diamond Princess cruise ship, where the virus spread four times faster than in Wuhan at the peak of the outbreak.


Mona Chalabi coronavirus illustration

Know the symptoms of coronavirus

This illustration depicts World Health Organization (WHO) data about how common certain coronavirus symptoms are.


Mona Chalabi coronavirus illustration

How long the coronavirus can survive on different surfaces

This illustration, which represents data from the Journal of Hospital Infection, aims to make people aware of how long the coronavirus can survive on different surfaces and emphasises the importance of regularly using disinfectant.


Mona Chalabi coronavirus illustration

Projected deaths from Covid-19

This visualisation emphasises the importance of social-distancing by depicting the number of deaths that could occur in the US if people do not change their usual behaviour.

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