Maps and the coronavirus outbreak

Hong Kong Harbor. Photo by Shawn Smallman, 2017

As we track the spread of the coronavirus outbreak, it’s helpful to have maps and other data visualizations to understand the data.

One useful site is Ncov2019Tracking, which says that it: “taps into the Twitter Streaming API and monitors tweets mentioning keywords related to the Novel coronavirus (2019-nCov) outbreak. A machine learning system trained with the supervision of experts filters informative tweets. Geographical entities mentioned in tweets – such as country and city names – are identified using the GeoNames database and used to place tweets on a global map.” This tool provides a useful means to track where people are discussing the epidemic on Twitter. It’s very clear (based on the map on January 31, 2020) that there is a lot of discussion related to the coronavirus taking place that concerns Indonesia and the Philippines.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering have also created an excellent map and dashboard which shows the geographical location of 2019-nCoV cases (we need a better name). A dashboard also shows total deaths (213 at today’s right), the total number of recovered (222 today) and the total number of confirmed cases (5,806). On the left hand side of the screen there is the total count of cases (9,925) and their geographical locations. At this time, there are 9,783 cases in mainland China, 19 in Thailand, 15 in Japan, and 13 in Singapore. There are also an eclectic group of countries that have a single case: Cambodia, Finland, India, Nepal, Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Sweden.

While technology has made it easier to track the outbreak, authorities in China are reportedly also using drones to chastise people who go out in public without masks, as this video purportedly shows. Lastly, you can read a blog post about quarantine and nCoV here, with some historical context on this question based on the 1918 influenza pandemic. 

Shawn Smallman, 2020

 

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