Teenager Creates COVID-19 Live Clock

A 17-year old programmer has created a website with COVID-19 case updates.

In the span of three months, the COVID-19 virus has grown into what is now a global crisis with even the most sophisticated healthcare systems finding themselves overwhelmed by the sheer number of cases. The countries of Spain and Italy are currently the epicenter of the pandemic. Spain has already surpassed China’s number of cases while Italy, on the other hand, has already seen a surmounting number of fatalities at 7,500 and counting. As governments scramble to continuously replenish supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) and ventilators, numerous institutions, organizations, and even locals have begun to band together.

Aside from donations and makeshift face masks, the need for data and information is paramount in understanding how close we are in “flattening the curve.” Individuals with STEM backgrounds are using the quarantine period to determine solutions. One of these is a 17-year old student who created a COVID-19 live clock. This live clock is capable of tracing the number of cases across the world. It updates every few seconds as new cases are reported and anyone with an internet connection can have access to this website. The person behind the technology has been programming since he was seven.

This is only one example of how technology and information can help in understanding the spread of the virus. South Korea was able to quickly address and contain cases thanks to an application that allowed locals to map the infection in their neighborhood. This allowed the government to quickly trace and test almost 20,000 people a day. Additionally, detailed data sets of individual cases have proven to contribute in controlling the rate of infection.

In Taiwan, the government has gone as far as disclosing information on the “linkage of anonymized cases, including family clusters” in order for locals to understand how easily the virus can be transmitted within households. It is the aggressive approach in addressing the pandemic that has so far allowed these countries to avoid enforcing a national lockdown. For comparison, the borough of Queens in New York City — which has one-tenth the population of Taiwan — has 10,000 cases.

However, liberal Western countries such as the United States might feel apprehensive towards these kinds of measures since it pertains to privacy which is still a sensitive subject.

Regardless, STEM-centered efforts have been pushed to the forefront — from epidemiologists to researchers, and to 17-year-old programmers. It’s these kind of steps that will determine the course of the pandemic in the next twelve to eighteen months. In the meantime, stay in quarantine and wash your hands.

For more COVID-19 stories, check out how AI is being used to monitor the pandemic here.