Students from the University of Cincinnati develop a COVID-19 tracking system

Service Engineering

Two students, Pieter-Jan Van Camp and Benjamin Wissel, from the University of Cincinnati, developed an interactive dashboard, COVID-19 Watcher, that allows the public to track COVID-19 deaths and cases in Greater Cincinnati and other US cities.

The app displays data from one-hundred and eighty-eight metropolitan areas in the US and every county. The dashboard lists the worst affected areas and auto-generates plots that represent temporary changes in testing capacity, mortality and cases. Furthermore, the watcher provides the public with live updates of outbreaks in their area. The pair published their research in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.

“Students from the University of Cincinnati develop a COVID-19 tracking system.“

Wissel stated: “People are connected and viruses spread through city infrastructures. Our app is especially relevant in places like Cincinnati whose metro area is split between three different states. The public benefits from additional sources that can provide up to date COVID-19 data for the country, state, county and city level. The New York Times has been tracking COVID-19 since January and they released their data to the public in late March of this year. Our app pulls in their data, merges it with sources from the US Census Bureau to map cases for each county to metropolitan areas and then visualizes the data. Outbreaks started at different times in different cities, so it is insightful to compare the progression of the virus spreading in your city compared to other cities who started before you. It is very hard to think of things in terms of exponential growth but seeing case numbers from a city that is, for example, 5 days ahead of you can give you an idea of where your city might be in 5 days.”

Van Camp stated: “I think one of the dashboard’s more interesting features is the option to adjust the data by the size of the population per capita. This way, you can compare the outbreak in different regions, regardless of high or low population on a relative scale.”

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