UDVL Partners With Institute Of Government And Public Affairs To Create Tool To Measure Human Toll Of Pandemic


The University of Illinois System’s Institute of Government and Public Affairs (IGPA) has partnered with the University of Illinois at Chicago’s (UIC) Urban Data Visualization Lab to release a tool that maps key information related to populations and entities more vulnerable to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Policy Spotlight released today, titled Visualizing Vulnerability and Capturing the Pandemic’s Human Toll, is the first in a series from IGPA’s Task Force on the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic. These Policy Spotlights will drill down on specific dimensions of the challenges facing Illinois and respond to policy questions raised by the broader reports issued by the task force. This spotlight builds on a report, released last week, from the Community and Family Resilience Impact Group.

“Some Illinoisans are experiencing a double whammy. They are vulnerable both to the virus itself and to the economic fallout that is happening as our country plunges into a recession. Visualizing these overlapping vulnerabilities lays bare vital moral considerations,” said IGPA Director Robin Fretwell Wilson. “This tool can help to anticipate needs and guide policy decisions that effectively address them. We must use this information as a guardrail, so that those with the least are not left to disproportionately bear the brunt of the pandemic.”

The Policy Spotlight focuses on helping Illinois develop a systematic understanding of what the pandemic has meant for people’s lives, so these human costs can also be a part of any decision-making processes, along with public health information and broader economic data.

As part of that effort, IGPA and the Urban Data Visualization Lab worked together to develop maps that more clearly identify vulnerabilities, both to the virus and to the socioeconomic impact of the pandemic.

As reports from the IGPA Task Force on the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic are released, they will be available on the task force’s webpage.