• Abylay Darmenov


The Covid-19 coronavirus began spreading at the end of 2019, but at first, there was nowhere to track real-time statistics. That December, a 17-year-old Seattle student Avi Schiffman designed a site to monitor the latest data. Website traffic data vary, but Schiffman claims that about 250 million people from around the world visited it in three months.

picture: The Times of Israel Web Site

Schiffman learned to automatically collect and analyze coronavirus data from the websites of WHO and national health authorities. Data on infected, dead, and recovered is updated on the site nCoV2019.live every minute - in most popular sources this happens only several times a day.

Schiffman created the site when he had not yet suspected that the virus would become widespread.

Schiffman began programming 10 years ago. He learned this from YouTube videos and by that moment had created about 30 sites.

When Schiffman began to monitor the situation with coronavirus, in China there were about a thousand cases. The teenager was faced with a lack of information - it was rarely updated in official Chinese sources, and it was difficult to obtain additional information.

The official website of the American health authorities is a "disaster", and the WHO website is also inconvenient to track information, says Schiffman. He decided to make a “simple and understandable" site with statistics, a map, and recommendations.

youTube: Democracy Now!

According to Schiffman, in December he still could not imagine what scale the virus would reach - he just wanted to practice creating such projects, at the same time informing people.

During the month the site was visited by about one million people. According to Schiffman, by April 2, he had already attracted more than 250 million visitors, more than 10 million times they’re browsing the site a day. The student had to increase server memory due to congestion. Schiffman suggested that the number of views in the "near" time will reach a billion. According to the author of the site, US residents make up only 50% of its audience.

If there is a new pandemic, I will be the first to create a website for it to track statistics. I do not want to imitate anyone else. I want to be the next Avi Schiffman.

Schiffman is engaged in the development of the site alone - only with the translation from Chinese his friends help him for free. According to the student, he does not set out to make money on the project. But he has nothing against donations: those who wish can send him donations through the button “Buy me a coffee”. Schiffman does not disclose the total amount of the transferred money.

According to Avi, every day he receives more than two thousand emails with thanks, tips, and suggestions of scientists to include new information on the site.

The site already has tables and maps about Covid-19. Schoolchild plans to add other data for pandemic analysis.

Schiffman’s website is updated automatically every minute: data is taken from government websites of countries, from the WHO website, regional health authorities, and the media. Before statistics are updated on the site, information from one source is automatically verified with others. When Schiffman first created the site, an update occurred every 10 minutes.

nCoV2019.live consists of global and national data, the number of infected, recovered, and dead in tabular form. Now the site has a map of the BNO News news agency, but Schiffman has already started developing his interactive version.

In the Wiki tab, Schiffman posts useful information about Covid-19: what is a coronavirus, how to protect yourself from it, and what symptoms of the disease occur more often than others. The teenager plans to add information about testing points, a vaccine development tracker, age statistics for the dead, and a comparison of Covid-19 with other epidemics.

On Twitter, Schiffman asks users to suggest improvements - based on them, he has already made separate tables for data for cities in the USA, China, Canada, and Australia. Users also complained about negative information on the site, so the teenager added data on recovered patients in numbers and percentages. So, according to the “Recovery” indicator, it is clear that by April 2, 92% of infected people had recovered in China.

So far, the latest update is the ability to add the desired continent, country or city to the “favorites”. Schiffman is also going to add interactive maps for each continent separately.

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