Case Western Reserve University students create dashboard breaking down COVID-19 cases by city’s zip codes

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Posted at 9:55 PM, Dec 16, 2021

CLEVELAND — Case Western Reserve University students are arming people who live in Cleveland with the power to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Austin Wilson is a senior at the university, he is studying computer science with a concentration in bioinformatics.

He was heavily involved in creating the code for CWRU’s COVID19 predictor dashboard last year, and he was also involved in the creation of its newest dashboard: Cleveland COVID19 Public Dashboard.

“It goes into finer-grained detail,” he said. “ I didn't have the bandwidth to do it all by myself. I took it to that team [of other students]. We've built it over the course of this semester in the spring, and then I have been doing all the final touches to it.”

With the help of Dr. Peter Zimmerman, a professor of pathology at the university and in collaboration with the Cleveland Department of Public Health, students developed the interactive dashboard breaking Cleveland down into zip codes.

"Something that a lot of people find very easy to interpret because they know where they live, it shows the whole Cleveland area and is divided by zip codes,” said Zimmerman. “Daily new cases are shown here is displayed across the spectrum going from green, which is more positive information to a darker maroon, which is negative information.”

If you hover over any area code you can see the number of new cases reported that day, the total case number since the pandemic began and the total number of deaths in that area, also the total population of the area.

“If you just want to find something out about your hometown, your immediate area, you can go right to this dashboard you don’t have to go to the state,” said Zimmerman.

The intent: if the information is easily accessible, people may think twice about their activities if they know they’re in an area with high risk.

“Knowing what's going on in your home is is crucial information, everybody wants their home to be safe,” he said. “We want to empower people to make decisions about risk throughout the holidays.”

The dashboard is updated daily and Wilson said it's a work in progress and they will continue to improve it.

“It is an active project, so we are going to listen to feedback and stuff and iterate on,” he said.

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