The University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) has launched a website that presents the latest statistics on the effect of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) on the population of South Africa.
The site serves as a tool to monitor the daily development of the coronavirus in South Africa. The data, in conjunction with global inputs and local parameters, is being used to provide predictions for the spread and impact of the coronavirus in the country.
Utilising official statistics from both local sources, such as the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) and international sources such as the World Health Organization (WHO), the dashboard is updated on a daily basis, about an hour after the release of the official Covid-19 statistics from the NICD.
The statistics are used to illustrate various aspects of disease’s progression and are visually presented in colourful graphics, aimed at making the data easy to interpret.
Types of statistics presented include:
- Cumulative confirmed Covid-19 cases in South Africa
- Daily confirmed cases
- Relative increases of infections
- Infections by gender, province and age
- Transmission routes
The dashboard is aimed at informing government, scientists, the media and the general public on the current situation, using quick, easy-to-understand information.
The work is performed by an interdisciplinary team of scientists from Wits and iThemba laboratories, a faculty of the National Research Foundation, in collaboration with a data analytics team from DataConvergence.
“We are experts in analysing and interpreting big data, and we believe that it is important that someone put this data together and present a bigger picture of the impact of the virus on the country,” says Professor Bruce Mellado from the Wits School of Physics, who initiated the project. The team working on the project includes computer and data analysts, engineers and physicists.
The university is in talks with several government departments to obtain recognition for the database, in order for it to be used as a tool in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.