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UVA Students Track Coronavirus


Four high school friends from Virginia are pooling their talents to inform the world about the new corona virus – helping people to track its spread and to learn how they can protect themselves. 

When the University of Virginia began alerting students to the threat of a new corona virus, Soukarya Ghosh and James Yun started talking.  Friends from high school in Northern Virginia now majoring in computer science, they thought they could help educate and inform the public.

“The biggest challenge right now is getting the correct information, the most up-to-date data," he explains.  "There is so much misinformation spreading around.”

So, Ghosh says, they collected data from the CDC, WHO, NIH and a website used by Chinese healthcare professionals to create an online dashboard where visitors can track the disease in near real time.

They called other high school friends – Bilguunzaya Battogtokh at Stanford and Austin Stout at Virginia Tech -- for help with what’s turned out to be a huge undertaking.

"It’s basically like a full-time software engineering job at this time," Ghosh admits.

But he figures it’s a great learning experience, and it could have public value, even after the coronavirus subsides.

“Right now we’re actually working on building out a machine learning model that bases off of past virus data – like SARS, MERS as well as past.”

That model could be used to predict the spread of future epidemics. So far, 7,000 people have paid a visit to trackcorona.live.  

Sandy Hausman is Radio IQ's Charlottesville Bureau Chief
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