April 21, 2020

Finding Coronavirus Hot Spots: Waycare Enlists its Technology

All over the world, people of goodwill are employing their skill, creativity, and knowledge to find ways to mitigate, defeat, and combat the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Waycare, too, has joined the fight. Waycare uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to help manage traffic flows across the U.S. Today we are sharing the first zip code level map with an accompanied questionnaire showing the risk level for COVID 19 within your area: https://covid19.waycaretech.com/  

As the United States grapples with the pandemic, Governors in many states, such as New York, report that there is a desperate shortage of COVID-19 tests and related reagents and materials. It seems that this scarcity will not be remedied in the near future, and as many states permit their residents to emerge from lockdown, gradually, there is a danger of a second wave – a second bulge of COVID-19 cases, as the first wave flattens. Preventing this will require far more extensive knowledge, on who has the virus, who has gotten it and gotten over it, and who has not been infected.

While many online maps and questionnaires have emerged, most are not providing granular enough information for the public and for public health officials who will be fighting to contain outbreaks as quickly as possible. That is why we designed our map and questionnaire to analyze data at the zip code level. 

There are a total of 41,702 zip codes in the United States, while the total area of the continental United States is 3,717,792 square miles. This means that a single zip code area covers, on average, about 88 square miles. So gathering data on those feeling unwell, with coronavirus-like symptoms, and mapping the numbers in a so-called heat map, with resolution down to 88 square miles for each zip code area, can provide valuable information, long before formal COVID-19 tests can reveal there is a potential hotspot. 

Data from online responses can be analyzed, in a dynamic fashion (that is, looking at changes even hour to hour), to spot worrisome trends, and perhaps engage in quarantine or lockdown for specific small areas without locking down an entire state or even county. 

Such a heat map will be one additional tool, along with many others employed by health care officials. But taken all together, all these tools can help the United States emerge from near-nationwide lockdown, get the economy rolling, get people back to work. So share with your friends and colleagues, fill out the questionnaire and take a small part in helping public officials contain the spread of the virus.

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