US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — While the world is fighting Covid-19 and countries are developing plans to open their societies, it is critical to have a clear idea of how the disease is spreading. Better data can help governments determine where resources such as ventilators and personal protective equipment need to be directed – and ultimately solve the issue of which areas are no longer in danger and can begin to cancel self-isolation.
Obtaining accurate data from different counties across the United States is a matter of certain challenges, while obtaining this kind of focal data from around the world is even more difficult. However, the billions of people around the world who make up the Facebook community can uniquely help scientists and healthcare organizations get the information they need to act correctly in response to an outbreak of coronavirus, and then to plan for a normal life.
Recently, we started showing Facebook research on the symptoms of symptoms conducted by healthcare professionals at Carnegie Mellon University for the Facebook community. As part of this study, people were asked if they had symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath or loss of smell, which are associated with Coved-19. Since the presence of such symptoms may indicate the onset of a more serious illness, this study can help predict how many such cases may be encountered by hospitals in the near future, as well as get early information about where the outbreak is increasing and where the curve was successfully displayed to a flat level.
On Monday, a group of researchers from Carnegie Mellon University began publishing preliminary results of their work. Experts receive approximately 1 million responses per week in the United States, and the results can already be called encouraging. They correlate with publicly available data regarding confirmed cases, and this suggests that the data obtained can help predict where the disease will spread. For example, the results of the study show that in some suburbs of the city of New York, about 2-3% of the inhabitants have symptoms similar to those that occur with coronavirus. Using aggregate data obtained as a result of the work of a team of specialists from Carnegie Mellon University, Facebook compiled its first report, as well as introduced new interactive maps,
Social networks are well suited to do this kind of work. Due to the availability of research results to a large number of people whose personal data we know, we can quickly send enough signals to correct misconceptions and thus ensure the correct collection of information. We work in partnership with the faculty of the University of Maryland to disseminate our research globally, and a team from Carnegie Mellon University is developing an application programming interface (API) that will allow researchers anywhere to access available results. We are confident that this will help governments and health workers around the world who may
The data may also provide other assistance in the fight against Covid-19. So, for example, we published several maps to prevent the spread of the disease based on our Data for Good program, which in aggregate form shows where people are going and where interaction between regions takes place. Over the past few months, public health researchers have used these data sets to inform and make decisions in Asia, Europe, and North America.
Specialists in Taiwan were able to identify the cities most likely to become infected, scientists in Italy are analyzing self-isolation measures for income inequality, and California officials are examining daily data at the county level to
In addition, we have established partnerships with New York University, as well as with the Mila Research Institute in Montreal. Using artificial intelligence, we help hospitals better predict the need for limited resources – such as personal protective equipment and ventilation devices.
This kind of data is of great benefit. Since we all produce data every day using applications and electronic devices, there seems to be much more opportunity to use aggregate data that can be used in the interests of the public health system. However, it is important that this be done in such a way that the privacy of citizens and human rights are protected.
It is also important that the organizations involved in this work do it in such a way that the information provided by people is protected and that any information collected is used only in case of emergency, as well as in other crisis situations. The fight against the coronavirus pandemic required unprecedented action in all walks of life, but this should not mean sacrificing our privacy.
I have always believed that helping people to join a community will help us to cope with the most difficult challenges – not only by exchanging experience and supporting each other in a crisis situation, but also in large-scale joint work aimed at solving problems. The world has already experienced pandemics in the past, but this time we have new superpowers – the ability to collect and share data for a good purpose. I am optimistic and confident that, when used correctly and responsibly, these data can help the world properly respond to the current health crisis and begin to move towards recovery.
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