CMU Launches Five Interactive Maps to Forecast COVID-19

The maps use a variety of data from Facebook, Google and others to try to pinpoint the virus' activity nationwide.

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Carnegie Mellon University has launched COVIDcast, a set of five interactive maps that display real-time data on symptoms, doctor visits, medical tests and browser searches related to COVID-19 in the United States. Each map can be configured to display by state, metro area or county.

Google, Facebook, Quidel Corp. and a national health system are providing data for the maps. Updated daily, the maps are designed to give anyone, including county, state and federal decision makers, with a new tool to determine if the virus is increasing or decreasing in a particular area.

“COVIDcast leverages Carnegie Mellon’s leadership in machine learning, statistics and data science, and builds upon our partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in epidemic forecasting at a time when policy makers and health care providers are eager for more insights into the spread of COVID-19,” said CMU President Farnam Jahanian in a release. “Our multidisciplinary team of researchers has worked tirelessly to bring together a variety of data sources to support informed decision-making throughout our global society.”

Carnegie Mellon’s Delphi Research Group and its COVID-19 Response Team created COVIDcast to “paint a more complete, detailed and up-to-date picture of the virus’ activity.”

“This is not the finish line for us — it’s just the beginning,” said Ryan Tibshirani, co-leader of the Delphi group and an associate professor of statistics and machine learning. The forecasts, as well as “nowcasts” that attempt to provide a combined, integrated view of current conditions, promise to provide important guidance as government and health care officials plan next steps in addressing the pandemic.

Categories: The 412