News about the global COVID-19 pandemic changes virtually minute by minute. Beyond staying home, handwashing, and covering your cough, you may wonder what you can do to help. A new website developed by the HealthMap team at Boston Children’s Hospital, COVID Near You, offers one way.
Taking a moment to share your health status on a given day will help the experts track specific locations where COVID-19 is spreading or receding, and at what rate.
As confirmed cases and deaths from COVID-19 mount, testing for the virus remains limited in the United States. Researchers, public health experts, and government officials are still struggling to understand how many people are infected locally, statewide, and nationally.
The more people provide real-time reports, the stronger the ‘signals’ in the data we gather,” says Sewalk.
COVID Near You invites the public to report current symptoms in real time, identified only by zip code. The site uses the same crowdsourcing technology that HealthMap used to build Flu Near You nearly a decade ago. That tracker has helped people understand influenza activity in their community while aiding experts with early detection and local forecasting.
Augmenting public health tracking of COVID-19
Like Flu Near You, COVID Near You visually maps the data it gathers to help identify current and potential COVID-19 hotspots. Reporting is quick, easy, and anonymous, and any U.S. resident over age 13 can participate.
“The public’s real-time reports of COVID-19-related symptoms can augment traditional public health tracking and help everyone understand where COVID-19 symptoms are occurring in their community,” says Kara Sewalk, MPH, an epidemiologist with HealthMap who helped create COVID Near You. “The more people join, the stronger the ‘signals’ in the data we gather.”
John Brownstein, PhD, answers common questions about COVID Near You.
COVID Near You is supported by donations from MongoDB, Datadog, and Cloudflare, and donated time from product managers, engineers, and designers across the technology sector.
Related Posts :
Revisiting race and ethnicity in clinical guidelines
Health care institutions often rely on clinical pathways in assessing patients and making decisions about their care. Some of these ...
Why parents really need to talk to their children about the news
These are strange, anxiety-provoking times. That’s true no matter where one lives or where one sits on the political ...
Does cannabis affect surgical outcomes? We need more data.
After alcohol, marijuana is the most commonly used recreational substance among U.S. adults and adolescents. Up to 22 million Americans 12 ...
Taming vaccine data: Joann Arce, PhD
Part of an ongoing series profiling researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital. Joann Arce, PhD, is a data tamer — corralling ...