Tracking COVID-19 With Data Science

Tracking COVID-19 With Data Science

Since the first case of COVID-19 in the United States was confirmed in the state of Washington on Jan. 21, 2020, data science teams nationwide have taken swift action to collect and analyze datasets for unique insights and trends in public health. Today, we are spotlighting a few specific efforts to track the pandemic and reduce its spread.

Quick reference — Coronavirus trackers and repositories

Company spotlights

Healthcare data science platform released the COVID-19 Vulnerability Index (CV19 Index) — a free, open-source tool designed to help healthcare organizations identify and protect individuals that are most vulnerable to COVID-19. The CV19 Index is available with support for the following deployment models:

  • Open source download
  • ClosedLoop HIPAA compliant turnkey hosting
  • Google Cloud Platform Marketplace and AWS SageMaker hosted models for virtual private cloud deployment

The CV19 Index identifies people likely to have a heightened vulnerability to severe complications from COVID-19. Because data on these cases is not readily available, the CV19 Index was developed using similar proxy events (e.g. pneumonia, influenza) and calculates vulnerability in terms of a person’s near-term risk of severe complications from respiratory infections.

The CV19 Index does not predict who will become infected or identify where the virus might spread. It is only meant to identify people with a heightened risk of severe complications should they become infected.

As community actions move from containment to aggressive mitigation, healthcare organizations and community health professionals can use the CV19 Index in several ways including:

  • Identifying and targeting vulnerable individuals for outreach
  • Preparing and sharing resources such as food delivery, virtual worship, medicine deliveries, telehealth, regular check-ins, etc.
  • Prioritizing resources as healthcare organizations prepare for shifts in demand
  • Coordinating efforts with other organizations and agencies

“It’s going to take a community effort to stop the spread,” said Eye. “We just want to do what we can to help make that happen. We want organizations to jump in with us, to help make the CV19 Index better. If that happens, we’ll have a powerful tool to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 to society at-large.”


Autonomous monitoring company Anodot launched a public service that monitors locally reported COVID-19 cases and notifies users when a particular region's numbers change significantly.

"Our employees voiced concerns over the growth of the virus in their home cities around the world. We began using our own machine learning algorithms to track it, and quickly realized that lending the use of our technology to the global public is the minimum we can do to help during this very difficult time," said David Drai, CEO and Co-Founder, Anodot.

"We will continue to look for other potential insights we can offer and hope the information will aid people's decisions, as so many of us are grappling with whether commuting to work, traveling, or attending large events puts ourselves and our families at risk," said Drai.

Anodot is running its algorithms based on publicly available data derived from The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

"It's crucial to monitor the rate of newly reported cases and not only the absolute number to better evaluate the situation," said Ira Cohen, Chief Data Scientist and Co-Founder, Anodot.

Vectorspace AI

Vectorspace AI, a natural language processing and understanding (NLP/NLU) company, made available real-time COVID-19 drug repurposing datasets in collaboration with Amazon and Microsoft in connection with the United States Office of Science and Technology Policy.

"One of the most immediate and impactful applications of AI is in the ability to help scientists, academics, and technologists find the right information in a sea of scientific papers to move research faster," said Dr. Oren Etzioni, Chief Executive Officer of the Allen Institute for AI.

Using bioscientific research papers published around the world through the National Library of Medicine and other related data sources, Vectorspace AI generates real-time updating correlation matrix datasets. These are designed to extract context-controlled hidden relationships between genes, proteins, phytochemicals, drug compounds, and infectious diseases such as COVID-19, designed for drug repurposing (repositioning).

The first dataset available includes a focus on the following approved drug compounds: Alvesco, Ampicillin, Arbidol, Azilsartan, Azithromycin, Candesartan, Clindamycin, Daraprim, Favipiravir, Fimasartan, Galidesivir, Hydroxychloroquine, Interferon α2b, Interferon β, Irbesartan, Kevzara, Lopinavir, Losartan , Mefloquine, Olmesartan, Primaquine, Pyrimethamine, Qualaquin, Remdesivir, Ribavirin, Ritonavir, Saprisartan, Telmisartan, Valsartan, and Zithromax.

Currently, datasets are made available through the Vectorspace wallet-enabled API free VXV token credits located here.

Datasets can be used to augment any other extant datasets or be used on their own to generate graph networks to visualize hidden relationships.

HR Acuity

HR Acuity, a technology platform specifically built for employee relations and investigations management, is providing a free version of its SaaS solution to help businesses manage employee issues related to the outbreak. The limited edition provides employee documentation and tracking functionality that will equip businesses to monitor the people impact of the crisis.

"The COVID-19 crisis is unprecedented for all of us, including employee relations and HR teams," said Deb Muller, CEO and Founder of HR Acuity. "Businesses must consistently track and document situations impacting our team members so we can appropriately support them as well as create records we can learn from in the future."

For COVID-19, this free access is helping enable HR and employee relations teams to:

  • Document and track any and all issues related to the outbreak, including performance management, accommodations, and allegations of discrimination or harassment
  • Implement consistent issue tracking and reporting for all employees, including work-from-home
  • Follow a compliant process to ensure fair fact-finding, when required
  • Connect patterns and trends related to COVID-19 with analytics, such as productivity and volume of employee issues

The limited edition will be available through at least July 1, 2020 to businesses with more than 100 employees. The offer will be extended at that time based upon the then-current environment.

Freedonia Group

The Freedonia Group has launched the COVID-19 Economic Tracker to provide analysis of how the latest COVID-19 news and developments will shape tomorrow's markets, including:

  • Near-term opportunities for food e-commerce and meal delivery as consumers self-isolate
  • Ramped up production of face masks and other medical supplies amid shortages
  • Supply disruptions for the chemical and construction materials sectors due to production shortfalls in China

"How large these effects will be worldwide depends on the progress of viral transmission, something no one knows with much certainty," said Freedonia Group Senior Economist Thomas Bowne.

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Article published by icrunchdata
Image credit by Getty Images, E+, Orbon Alija
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