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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – There’s this famous chart called “warming stripes” that shows the dramatic heating of Earth’s climate over the past few decades.

First designed by climatologist Ed Hawkins and popularized by meteorologists in a campaign from climate change communication group Climate Central, the stripes show how many degrees Celsius above or below normal Earth has been since 1850.

Blue stripes are years when the global temperature was below the historical average, and red stripes are years above average.

2021 warming stripes Climate Central
A version of climatologist Ed Hawkins’ “warming stripes” heatmap shows the yearly deviation of Earth’s global average temperature from 1850 to 2020 compared to the historical average. (Image credit: Climate Central)

Basically, it’s a heatmap. But this method can also give us an insightful look into the coronavirus in Ohio.

Changing years into days and degrees above zero Celsius into cases of COVID-19, we can visualize a heatmap of where Ohio stands in coronavirus pandemic, which is now in its 14th month.

*Note that the most recent 14 days are preliminary and expected to rise as more data comes in.

Notice how the red barely even registers before March 2020, darkens a tad in the summer and fades in September. But then it ratchets up in autumn and peaks on Nov. 30 with a dark maroon that represents nearly 14,000 Ohioans getting sick that day.

Daily cases, however, have trended down dramatically since the winter holidays. On Monday, the Ohio Department of Health reported fewer than 2,000 cases for the first time since Oct. 19. And Tuesday, ODH announced just 3,207 new cases, the 12th straight day below 5,000.

“Numbers continue to be below than the 21-day average,” Gov. Mike DeWine said at his coronavirus briefing Tuesday.

Deaths, too, have been trending down.

Ohio did not record its first COVID-19 death until March 1, 2020, but to show the delayed relationship between cases and deaths, this deaths heatmap has the same range as the cases heatmap: Jan. 2, 2020 to Feb. 8, 2021:

*Note that the most recent 14 days are preliminary and expected to rise as more data comes in.

Dozens of people died per day in April and May as health officials and professionals were still learning about the coronavirus. Deaths decreased and leveled out afterward as treatments became widely available, but they returned at record levels — as many as 109 per day — during the autumn spike in cases.

But now in early February, daily death counts are back to where they were in early November, to around 40-50 per day once a day’s count is no longer preliminary.