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COVID-19 symptom tracking maps to be rolled out internationally by Facebook – Technology News, Firstpost

Facebook announced on Monday that COVID-19 symptom tracking maps will be available globally later this week. The survey will be conducted in collaboration with the Delphi Research Centre at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU).

According to a post on Facebook’s site, the institution made public the preliminary results of their US symptom survey, which was pushed by the social media network.

Facebook said it had developed its first report and new interactive maps, which it aims to update daily throughout the outbreak, using aggregate data from Carnegie Mellon.

Mark Zuckerberg, the creator, and CEO of Facebook wrote in The Washington Post on how polls like this can help in the fight against the new coronavirus.

Getting reliable county-by-county statistics from across the United States, according to Zuckerberg, is a difficult task. He went on to say that, with a global community of billions, Facebook can assist researchers and health officials in gathering the knowledge they need to respond to the outbreak and build a recovery strategy.

The US symptom survey known as COVIDcast, according to Carnegie Mellon University, displays signals linked to coronavirus activity levels across the country from a variety of anonymized, aggregated data sources.

Each signal indicates whether COVID-19 infection, mild symptoms, or more serious disease are present. It can be used to warn public health experts to explore sites where COVID-19 activity appears to be increasing, to aid in informed decision-making, to track changes, and to feed into Carnegie Mellon’s pandemic forecasting system.

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NEW YORK (AP) — Facebook most likely already has a lot of information about you. So, would you take a survey on social media about how you’re feeling right now?

What if that data may aid researchers and politicians in their efforts to combat the present pandemic? Would it make a difference if it meant that local businesses, parks, and beaches could reopen sooner rather than later?

This is the premise driving various efforts to exploit people’s social media and internet usage to identify hot spots and predict outbreaks of the virus before hospitals are overburdened.

Government authorities are looking for leading indications — data that may predict an outbreak — to assist them to make important decisions about what to open and when as society begins to reopen after months of lockdown.

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A symptom survey developed by Carnegie Mellon University researchers is one indicator. The survey, which sits at the top of a person’s Facebook page, asks if he or she has had COVID-19 symptoms such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath.

The survey is available worldwide thanks to a collaboration with the University of Maryland, and it is particularly popular in the United States.

Laura McGorman, a Facebook policy lead, stated, “We’re getting something like 150,000 responses a day.”

On the university’s COVIDcast website, Carnegie Mellon researchers update the data every day. Visitors to the site can search for counties based on date and data set.

In a statement, Ryan Tibshirani, co-leader of Carnegie Mellon’s COVID-19 Response Team, said, “The real-time estimates we’ve derived correlate with the best available data on COVID-19 activity.”

The data “inspires us to believe that we will soon be able to provide health-care professionals with forecasts” for several weeks, he said.

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Facebook is also sharing user mobility data with Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, which will assist researchers in creating a map of daily population movement by state and county. This information comes from people who use Facebook’s mobile app with location history enabled.

Policymakers can use this data to figure out how communities are reacting to physical barriers and whether new barriers are required.

Researchers warn that statistics are only another layer of data that can reveal possible tendencies in the disease’s progress. They aren’t sufficient on their own.

“Hopefully, some piece of our data may be beneficial in a response no matter where you are in the world,” Facebook’s McGorman said.

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