Data geeks ‘install’ Kerala Covid tracker

Kerala releases Covid-19 statistics every evening, perhaps in a manner better than any other state.

Published: 01st April 2020 03:13 AM  |   Last Updated: 01st April 2020 09:39 AM   |  A+A-

Kerala Doctors conducting checkups at Govt Girls Higher Secondary School as part of sanitation drive against coronavirus in Kochi.

Kerala Doctors conducting checkups at Govt Girls Higher Secondary School as part of sanitation drive against coronavirus in Kochi. (Photo | EPS/A Sanesh)

Express News Service

KOCHI: Kerala releases Covid-19 statistics every evening, perhaps in a manner better than any other state. For a layman, however, an easy-to-digest Covid-19 tracker website was unavailable for a live update on the pandemic in the state.Now, a group of Malayali technology volunteers from across the globe have joined hands to establish a Kerala Covid tracker website. It goes a step further to give an effective visual representation of the outbreak.

The site covid19kerala.info — developed by data geeks led by Dr Jijo P Ulahanan, HoD (physics), Government College, Kasaragod — brings out a live update on the coronavirus across Kerala. It provides all details, including the district-wise break-up, the outbreak spread trend, new cases by day and confirmed case trajectories by district, in a visually appealing manner.

“We began this purely for an academic purpose though the idea was also to provide the public  with easy to track single-point source for all Covid cases in Kerala,” Ulahanan told TNIE.During the 2018 flood, many online communities joined hands to provide technological support including information to help track missing persons and provide relief measures, apart from live data on the flood-affected persons. From the tech communities’ perspective, this was seen missing in the coronavirus outbreak. That’s when Nishad Thalath — a data geek and network security expert who is doing metadata research at the University of Tsukuba in Japan — contacted Ulahanan, a close friend and his senior at the Cochin University of Science and Technology (Cusat). Nishad floated the idea of a Covid tracker site similar to Japan’s Covid tracker covid19japan.com.

Soon, other experts in data modelling — Jeevan U of Cusat, Nikhil Narayanan, Musafir, Dr A V Pradeep, Sreehari, Jaleel K, Saneesh Chengamanad, Prem Prabhakar, Sooraj P Suresh and Sreekanth C — joined in from their respective locations to set up the Kerala Covid tracker. The site has now emerged as the most reliable source for Covid updates from the state. Ulahanan said, though the Kerala Government was giving daily updates, which are good, some information is still missing. “We don’t get the gender profile or the age profile of the Covid patients, which will not help in our predictions,” he said.Do the tech volunteers plan to include other states? Can the site predict the rise or fall in the numbers of Covid patients? 

“Our focus is on Kerala and the rise of this pandemic in the state,” Nikhil Narayanan said. “Some of us are experts at data modelling and we plan to include trend-predictors, at both the conservative and aggressive ends. We are monitoring the trajectory closely during this lockdown period and will do so even after that, until we have enough data points around Kerala to project the rise and fall of this pandemic.” He said there are scientists in the team looking at various infectious disease models.

Staying on track
Visit covid19kerala.info to get live updates on: 
Coronavirus statistics across the state
District-wise break-up
Outbreak spread trend
New cases by day
Confirmed case trajectories by district



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