For many close watchers, few resources have proved as indispensable during the spread of the coronavirus as the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center. The site, which sprang from data a first-year graduate student began tracking in December, went live in late January. Now it gets more than a billion interactions a day.
“It was a bit of a spur-of-the-moment decision to say, let’s build out this data set and let’s keep doing it, let’s make it public,” Lauren Gardner, co-director of the Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering, told Nature Index.
The site was meant for the research community, Gardner said, but it didn’t take long for the public to take notice. The 1.2 billion interactions it gets each day is up from 200 million a day in late January. Nature Index describes the site’s influence in the tech and academic communities:
The underlying dataset, stored on the code-sharing site GitHub, has been “starred” — that is, favourited — nearly 20,000 times, with nearly 1,700 submitted suggestions or bug reports and over 350 suggested data changes (“pull requests”).
A paper describing the dashboard, published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases on 19 February, has already been cited 79 times, according to Google Scholar.
And for those who don’t want to update the site themselves, there are several YouTube livestreams, including one from Fox News, showing the number of coronavirus cases and deaths climb in real time.