All the illustrations and animations in one place.
Last updated May 2022
The visual explainers created by Toby Morris and Siouxsie Wiles and published by The Spinoff have been shared in their hundreds of millions since the pandemic struck. For ease of reference we’ve put them all together in one post, which we’ll regularly update.
You can also read Toby’s extraordinary Side Eye comics, Essential and Viruses vs Everyone. You can read all of Siouxsie’s brilliant explainers, analysis and commentary here. Siouxsie reflects on a year of collaborations here.
For a collection of te reo Māori translated versions, see here.
The images below have been released under a Creative Commons CC-BY-SA-4.0 licence. This means you are free to use them providing you give credit and share under the same conditions. More details here. Please send us a link to email@example.com noting where and how you have used them for our records. You can download the illustrations and gifs by right-clicking on them in the posts and selecting “save image as”. Please note that some have been updated over time to reflect research findings. Please use the most recent version.
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Flatten the curve
In this post from March 9 2020, Siouxsie and Toby outlined the “flatten the curve” concept. This animation, based on images already in circulation, instantly went viral. Jacinda Ardern held a printout aloft at a press conference announcing the partial closure of New Zealand borders.
Stop the spread
Five days later, on March 14, a more elaborate version, which brought with it the idea of more drastic collective action: Stop the spread.
On March 18, as part of a primer on testing for Covid-19, Siouxsie and Toby presented a symptoms grid, reflecting what we knew at that point about the disease’s symptoms.
In a post on April 30, in which Siouxsie urged anyone with possible symptoms to get tested immediately, Toby and she created a different kind of symptoms chart: those that could be a sign.
Break the chain
On March 20, as New Zealand began its ride up the alert level system, Siouxsie and Toby published a visual explaining how exponential spread works, and how one small decision could make such a big difference. This would again circle the earth, and end up adopted by official communications channels in New Zealand, Argentina, Australia, Germany and Scotland.
That post came with another much-deployed gif: some non-contact handshake options.
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As New Zealand went into full-on lockdown, we were getting our heads around the idea of “bubbles”, and why they were a crucial part of alert levels three and four. The explainer post came with two helpful animations.
The impact of the lockdown would take time to materialise in the numbers. To explain why, Siouxsie and Toby visualised “the lag”.
On April 1, Siouxsie and Toby explained in more depth, in text and image, why the bubble concept really mattered to making the sacrifices of the lockdown worthwhile.
Apartments and bubbles
A couple of days later, more detail still: how to keep contained while living in shared buildings.
On April 6, a look at the latest evidence on masks, and their use in different parts of the world.
Incubation and symptoms
For a post on April 12 expanding on the lag idea and the gap between transmission and symptoms, a new animation showing how that works in terms of the numbers we see.
Contact tracing and transmission chains
On April 18, Siouxsie explained why contact tracing is such a crucial part of the puzzle, and how transmission chains work. That came with two animations from Toby, created with help from the indispensable Ayesha Verrall.
Some of the scientific language is a bit different to common usage. Siouxsie and Toby laid that out on April 24.
The ‘over-reaction’ fallacy
As New Zealand moved out of the strictest lockdown and swum in alert level three takeaways, Siouxsie and Toby cautioned against taking low new-case numbers as a sign of having overreacted.
And offered a reminder of what might have been.
The prevalence puzzle
One of the most perplexing issues: just how widespread is Covid-19 in populations?
How the virus hits the body
In a post exploring what we need to learn more about in fighting Covid-19, Siouxsie and Toby illustrated the typical way the virus affects a human body, and what different types of test can tell us.
The lag at level three
As New Zealand recorded its first days of zero new cases for some time, Siouxsie and Toby returned to the lag, warning that we needed to hang on to see the impact of level four.
Level two tips
As New Zealand moved back into alert level two on May 14, Siouxsie and Toby offered some simple rules for playing it safe as we tiptoed back to something like normal life.
And on April 18, an elaboration on the shouting’n’singing point.
Contact tracing tech
From May 23, how do contact tracing apps work, and why do we need them?
The vaccine race
From July 28, an explanation of the efforts to find a Covid-19 vaccine, and the different forms in the running.
Let’s go, again
When Covid returned, uninvited, to New Zealand in August, the message was: We can do this again.
The genome puzzle
A critical new tool in taking on Covid is genome sequencing. On August 13, Siouxsie and Toby explained how that works.
Over time the research has become clear: masks are a crucial part of keeping Covid at bay. S&T explained why. (Scroll down for updated delta version.)
The cluster forks
From August 22, a primer on community transmission, clusters, and close vs casual contacts.
The virus triangle
Covid-19 is playing out differently in various parts of the world. To understand this a little better, Siouxsie Wiles and Toby Morris set out the Covid-19 “triangle” in an August 30 post.
Flattening the infodemic curve
Misinformation and its evil cousin, disinformation, have their own kind of virality. From a September 8 post.
Bridging the gap
A week later, a companion piece: how do you talk to someone who has been taken in by falsehood and misinformation?
The effort to defeat the coronavirus relies on many layers of defence. Call them slices of cheese. From this October 2020 article, here’s a NZ-specific animation …
And a more generic version …
Unlocking the strains
As a number of dangerous new mutations spread around the globe, Siouxsie and Toby explained in a January 26 2021 post how they emerge and why.
Over the course of a year our understanding of the way Covid-19 is transmitted from person to person changed a lot. From February 5 2021, a series of animations from Toby and Siouxsie about what we know (scroll down for updated delta version).
NZ’s unique opportunity
The scarcity of Covid-19 cases in New Zealand has meant our scientists can decipher things you simply couldn’t in most places. Here’s an illustration of that, from February 17 2021.
Cheesy powers: now with vaccine
The launch of the vaccine roll-out provided another critical slice of cheese to the response. From February 20, 2021.
The Pfizer method
As part of an explainer on February 24, 2021, Siouxsie and Toby broke down the way the Pfizer/BioNTech mRNA virus works.
The delta challenge
When New Zealand faced its first outbreak of the delta variant of Covid in the community, the country was thrown into lockdown. Toby and Siouxsie urged focus, determination, and slippers.
From August 19 2021, fresh versions of the animations on transmission and mask usages, delta edition.
Chasing down an outbreak
From a post on August 20, how public health experts go about their work, and why lockdowns are an important part of the effort.
Misinformation red flags
To run with a post on August 21, a new version of the misinformation post to include the “red flags”.
How the world sped to the vaccine summit
One of the questions often aired by vaccine sceptics relates to the pace of the vaccine development. Here Siouxise and Toby explain how it happened quickly, and why that is no cause for alarm.
As the vaccine rollout expanded, meaning everyone over the age of 12 was eligible, one of the questions became: Do I need to get vaccinated even if I’m young, fit and healthy?
To address that, and more broadly explain how incredibly cool the vaccine is, Toby and Siouxsie turned to a videogame analogy. This one, published on September 16 2021, has sound with the video, featuring Toby and Siouxsie as voiceover artists, as well as coming in gif form.
Te pakanga a te rongoā āraimate ki te huaketo
Power Up is also available in te reo Māori, thanks to Pohatu Poutu, Tina Ngata and Te Aroha Kanarahi Trust.
Two shots for summer
As summer beckoned in October 2021, Siouxsie and Toby looked at the importance of getting fully vaccinated before heading away on holiday.
What difference does the vaccine make?
The data on case numbers and hospitalisations in New Zealand’s delta outbreak sent a resounding message to anyone who doubted why Covid vaccines matter. From October 2021, these two gifs made it even clearer.
In November 2021, Siouxsie and Toby explained the very serious threat of antimicrobial resistance in age of Covid-19.
Five factors to help us avoid Covid-19 this summer
As we headed into Christmas 2021, Siouxsie and Toby outlined five factors to help reduce the risk of transmission as the omicron variant began to make its presence felt at our borders.
Flatten the curve: 2022 edition
As the omicron variant spread through Aotearoa in February 2022, two years after the pandemic began, the graphic that started it all got a refresh.