Newswise — A new COVID-19 tracking tool that can tell Texans what is happening in real time in their own communities and anticipate how one person can infect dozens more was recently launched by The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth).
TexasPandemic.org, developed by public health researchers in collaboration with biostatisticians and data scientists, is a free tool available to the community in an effort to inform public health decision-making across the state.
“We created this interactive public health dashboard because we wanted to help our fellow Texans. By understanding future trends of this virus, it can help aid in the effective management of local resources,” said José-Miguel Yamal, PhD, an associate professor of biostatistics and data science at UTHealth School of Public Health in Houston and one of the project’s lead developers.
Faculty and students from the school’s six campuses throughout Texas used their expertise to design state-of-the-art data visualization of critical metrics to help facilitate COVID-19 mitigation.
Along with figures for the daily number of confirmed cases throughout the state, the tool also provides charts that shows the measure of contagiousness of each COVID-19 positive individual in the region, hospitalizations, demographics, and critical trends.
“The dashboard identifies the current hot spots, predicts future spread both at the state and county level, and houses relevant public health resources. It can effectively inform decision-makers across Texas to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” said Shreela Sharma, PhD, a member of the research team and professor of epidemiology, human genetics, and environmental sciences at UTHealth School of Public Health in Houston.
The dashboard also provides context for the data and explanations of medical concepts, so it is easy for the general public to understand.
Other research team members from the Houston campus include Ashraf Yaseen, PhD, an assistant professor of biostatistics and data science, and Alanna Morrison, PhD, professor and chair of the Department of Epidemiology, Human Genetics, and Environmental Sciences, and director of the Human Genetics Center. Dallas campus team members include Katelyn Jetelina, PhD, an assistant professor of epidemiology, and Bijal Balasubramanian, PhD, associate professor and regional dean of the Dallas campus. Nalini Ranjit, PhD, an associate professor at UTHealth School of Public Health in Austin, is also a member of the research team for TexasPandemic.org.