Data and Analytics in War against Coronavirus Pandemic


Scientists and doctors all over the world have united together to find out a vaccine to avert the spread of Coronavirus. As the number of confirmed cases is increasing day by day, scientists are looking towards modern technologies such as data analytics to fight against this deadly virus.

Data analytics is helping scientists to understand the transmission rate, the locations to which the virus might spread, and the transmission timelines.

Read: Future of Work, Jobs and Careers after COVID19

The Data Analytics Role in COVID-19 War: How is this technology helping? 

Medical data analysis 

As thousands of patients are being hospitalized every day due to COVID-19 infection, their medical records are piling up. The doctors and scientists are constantly trying to analyze these medical data to determine a solution. Data analytics is helping them to analyze these huge datasets properly and identify patterns in the data, which might help in finding a way to end this pandemic.

Several companies such as Google and Amazon are offering free access to open medical datasets and data analytics tools for research. 

The Sheba Medical Center in Israel is using data analytics forecasting to allocate personnel and resources to battle this outbreak. Using information such as confirmed cases, tests, contract tracing, deaths, and other details; the data analytics algorithms are assisting healthcare professionals to gather the required resources and manage their existing medicine supplies.

Read: Importance of AI post coronavirus world

Tracing the virus 

In Shanghai, data analytics is used to inhibit the transmission of Coronavirus. Workers in many organizations are instructed to notify their travel history and other information to their superiors. This data is sent to a big data platform where it is analyzed. This helps in understanding the likelihood of virus transmission by the employees. 

Data Analytics & Data Science is used by many government healthcare departments for evaluating the spread of the virus in localities. For this, demographic data and location statistics are used by big data programs. Data analytics can be used to cross-reference disease data with patient data to predict possible transmissions.

The Indian startup called “Aiisma” has developed a mobile application that can be used for collecting location data. This is used for contact tracing and is helping the government authorities to thwart the transmission and take preventive measures. 

Diagnosis and treatment

In December 2019, BluDot was the first to detect an unusual virus using its data analytics system. Analyzing over 60 million health articles, this system identified a similarity with the SARS outbreak in 2003.

Currently, data analytics is heavily used by healthcare firms to assist in the diagnosis of Coronavirus. The algorithms diagnose the virus faster than the CT scan results that usually take around 6 minutes. This speeds up the diagnostics processes and frees up resources for treating other patients.

Read: Fight coronavirus with the help of Data

Drug development and testing 

Data analytics has helped in speeding up the drug development process in many laboratories. As scientists are able to analyze medical data easily and perform tests faster, drugs are developed faster based on these test results.

For example, Google’s DeepMind AI system is being used for analyzing the characteristics of the COVID-19 virus. Understanding the structure and how the virus functions will help immensely in creating treatment plans and also evaluate the existing treatment plans prescribed for patients. Data science along with AI and machine learning helps in assessing whether existing drugs can cure COVID-19.

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Creating dashboards

Data analytics has enabled scientists to create dashboards that represent the current situation of Coronavirus pandemic all over the world. These dashboards fetch medical data from different governments and depict those using data visualization techniques. These show statistics such as confirmed cases, deaths, and locations.

These dashboards help data scientists to create data models and predict COVID-19 hotspots. So, the government agencies can take necessary actions beforehand.

Also read: ML predicts the impact of quarantine

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The Data Analytics Role in COVID-19 War is proving to be extremely significant as every day goes by. As more and more people get involved in this war, more data analysis tools will be developed. Data analytics centers are being established by government agencies to assist this united effort of defeating Coronavirus.

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Has the coronavirus pandemic affected data science jobs?

AI and similar technology appear to have gained momentum since the COVID- 19 pandemic. Not only have technological developments aided in the better management of the crisis, but companies have also depended on these tools to pivot and manage resources as they navigate the pandemic's impacts. The data science employment market has been less affected than other industries, which have seen hiring freezes, huge layoffs, and salary cuts.

How did data analytics help in maintaining medical facilities during the pandemic?

Health authorities worked to lower death rates in places worst impacted by the virus by using analytical tools to more efficiently transfer available bed space and hospital resources, even to adjacent health systems. These analytical approaches include predicting the number of affected people who will require medical intervention and the amount of care that will be required, using scenario modelling to forecast the number of caregivers needed, and fine-tuning epidemiological models and using them to forecast COVID-19 infections in a given location.

The analytical results based on the progressively created massive amounts of data have played a significant role in people monitoring, early warning of high-risk regions, screening of asymptomatic possible infections, medication research, information release, and policy creation.

How are the dashboards that represent the latest situation of the virus helpful?

The value of the coronavirus dashboard is its capacity to quickly access and arrange data in simple data visualizations to increase situational awareness. The dashboard is updated on a regular basis to reflect the number of confirmed-positive COVID-19 cases reported. It is being used by companies across a wide range of sectors to investigate the link between pandemic hotspots and their operations, such as key supply chains, scattered workforces, and emergency response readiness. The capacity to visualize the virus's progress can aid in raising awareness, understanding its impact, and, eventually, prevention.

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