Laid off graphic designer puts skills to use gathering data on mask use in Wake County


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Most people, whether they realize it or not, are paying attention to weather or not people are wearing masks during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Wake County graphic designer Carl Broaddus has been paying even closer attention.

“I thought people are going to benefit from understanding this. And starting to understand how the data can inform the science and how we can have a better understanding of the truth behind the benefits of social distancing and mask usage,” Broaddus said.

Broaddus, after being laid off, decided to take his graphic design skills and use them to help others. He’s visiting every ZIP code in Wake County and spending hours sampling how many people in various shopping areas are wearing masks. He then compares it to how many people the state reported positive for COVID-19 in each ZIP code.

“By the end of it, I had a pretty good, holistic view of mask usage per ZIP code. And then I could compare it to COVID cases per ZIP code,” Broaddus said.

He is taking all of that data and creating graphics for everyone to see.

“It’s so much more impactful to be able to say these are the people you’re going to the grocery store with (and) these other people who are your neighbors. It makes it more real,” Broaddus said.

He wants to make it clear that it is not an exact science, nor does Broaddus claim to be a scientist. But, as a layperson, he found correlations.

“We have to be careful to extrapolate anything for certain from the day,” he said. “We can’t say for certain that it’s this direct correlation between mask usage and COVID count, but I can say, observationally, I have yet to see that anything that discounts the benefit of masks.”

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