The data analytics resource pandem-ic saw the light of day on February 1, 2021. It was the beginning of the global vaccination campaign. Since its inception, the site has grown into a repository of over 200 visuals on pandemic inequalities and inequities. Detailed explanations provide context and interpretation as do various data insights and longer articles. 
Pandem-ic would not have been possible without the support, encouragement and interest of many people. While this is a personal project disconnected from official duties at work, the idea for the site originated in earlier research when I managed the Global Modeling & Analytics Division at the World Bank’s Research Department. We produced various reports on global mega-trends, including one on demography and developmentAs it turns out, the demographic lens is extremely useful to analyze this age-discriminating pandemic. 

Early on in the pandemic, I also co-authored a paper with Diego Sourrouille of the World Bank on COVID-19 mortality in rich and poor countries. Among other things, that paper predicted based on demographic patterns that we would soon see a massive shift in the global mortality distribution to the developing world. The prediction unfortunately materialized (for a discussion, see this Guardian article by Laura Spinney). 

The work on pandem-ic benefited from the data inputs of the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University (mainly for cases and mortality data), Our World in Data (for vaccination data) and The Economist (for the excess mortality estimates). Thanks to everyone behind these efforts, including Edouard Mathieu and Sondre Solstad.

Even though this project is as noted earlier a side effort, I am grateful that the outputs are being widely used within the World Bank, including in the COVID-19 newsletter of the Human Development Vice-Presidency. I would also like to thank my co-author Indermit Gill of the World Bank for the work we published at Brookings titled “COVID-19 is a developing country pandemic“, which made the point that the pandemic in the developing world has been far more severe than the official data indicate. 

Also, a thank you to the World Health Organization. Very early on, Gabby Stern picked up on a budding version of pandem-ic: a “vaccine equity tracker” in the form of a simple table on vaccine distribution by World Bank income group that was regularly shared on Twitter.  Since then, several WHO colleagues have been supportive of this effort and I would like to thank in particular Samira Asma and Peter Singer.

I would also like to thank the various practitioners, academics and colleagues who have through their regular interactions been a source of inspiration and feedback. In addition to those already mentioned, this includes Jorge Araujo, Luis Benveniste, Gabriel Demombynes, Tom Frieden, Amanda Glassman, Gregg Gonsalves, Michele Gragnolati, Huade Huo, Matthew Kavanagh, Xander Koolman, Anthony Leonardi, Mamta Murthi, Madhu Pai, Bart Pauwels, Bryce Quillin, Alasdair Rae, Gavin Yamey and Shahid Yusuf.

Last but not least, I would like to thank the many readers of this work for their comments and suggestions, which have led to many new ideas. Thank you all. 

If this effort has made a small contribution to a better and broader understanding of the challenges we’re facing during this unprecedented health emergency, it will have been worth it.

Philip Schellekens