New site helps data tell COVID-19 story in real time

World Health Organization // Special to Western News

The COVID-19 Canada Site includes both real-time visualizations and statistical analysis, created from data released daily by the Government of Canada, provincial governments and other public accessible data sources including John Hopkins University and the World Health Organization.

There were rich sources of information on COVID-19 out there. But while all that data had plenty to say about the times we are living in, it still took Grace Yi and her colleagues to help tell its story.

“Our group felt we should use our expertise and experience to tell the story of the pandemic in Canada from the statistical perspectives,” said the Computer Science and Statistical and Actuarial Sciences professor. “We could not let the data just sit there.”

Working with fellow Statistical and Actuarial Sciences professor Wenqing He, along with members of the Grace-Wenqing Data Science Research Group, the team developed a clickable map that depicts real-time situations about COVID-19 for each province in Canada.

The COVID-19 Canada Site includes both real-time visualizations and statistical analysis, created from data released daily by the Government of Canada, provincial governments and other public accessible data sources including John Hopkins University and the World Health Organization.

The site provides an overview of the pandemic across Canada, characteristics of the trends at the city level, as well as the mortality/recovery rate in relation to demographic features such as age and gender. The site also features heat maps showing active cases for each province.

Launched this past week in English, a French version of the website is currently under construction.

“COVID-19 is one of the biggest challenges in history,” said Yuan Du, a Computer Science master’s student who oversees the website. “Since the outbreak in China, our team members have been paying attention to the situation. We cannot help patients like first-line doctors, but we hope to contribute in our own way to help more people understand COVID-19.”

In order to have a more unified picture of the pandemic’s impact on Canada, the team is also working on adding data to show how COVID-19 is influencing unemployment, the economy, education and daily lives.