New visualization tool lets public track spread of Wuhan coronavirus
Researchers at Johns Hopkins University have released a dashboard that lets users track and visualize the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak on a daily basis. The data is overlaid on a map of the world showing reported cases of infection highlighted in red, and the locations of fatalities denoted by an 'x'.
The Wuhan coronavirus was first reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) on December 31, 2019, when several citizens of Wuhan city, which is located in the Hubei Province of China, contracted pneumonia from a then-unknown source.
Gene sequencing analysis later revealed that the cause of the sickness was a new coronavirus, now designated 2019-nCoV, which is related to the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome virus (SARSCov) and the Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome virus (MERS-CoV). On January 13, Thailand become the first country outside of China to report a case of 2019-nCoV, and on January 20, China’s National Health Commission (NHC) revealed that the virus can be transmitted from person to person.
Strenuous efforts have been made to contain the virus. All 11 million residents of the city of Wuhan have been placed in quarantine, and numerous other cities have now followed suit.
The spread of the coronavirus has been exacerbated by its conjunction with the Chinese New Year on January 24, during which large numbers of people travel to attend mass celebrations. Wuhan city is also a major air transportation hub. It is thought that transmission via infected air passengers is a major contributor to the spread of the sickness.
Whilst travellers from Wuhan and other infected regions are now being screened, the virus has already gone global. Confirmed cases of 2019-nCoV have been reported in multiple countries, including Japan, Malaysia, Cambodia and the US, to name a few.
The new dashboard was created by Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering, with the goal of informing the public about the spread of 2019-nCoV.
The data used to inform the tool is drawn from a wide range of sources. In the US, information is collected from organizations such as the WHO and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For other countries, data is collected from corresponding authorities and health departments.
This data is visualized on a map of the world. Regions where the Wuhan coronavirus has struck are indicated in red. Regions that have suffered a fatality or multiple fatalities are also marked with an 'x'.
At the time of writing there have been 6,172 reported cases of infection. Of those afflicted, 112 have recovered, but sadly 132 people have died. The WHO has released recommendations for the public designed to limit the chances of contracting the illness, and spreading it to others.