Covid-19 or coronavirus pandemic has taken the world by a storm and has also spread significantly in India. The contagious disease has not only affected millions but has also caused several deaths, making it the most deadly disease causing a pandemic in the history of the world. In a big nation like India, there are many sources people can go to in order to get their daily update on the disease, its statistics and other information. But are all of them accurate and regularly updated? Probably not. But COVID TODAY is a website or platform which has detailed information on the disease and its effect within India.

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COVID TODAY is an initiative by iCart which is a team composed of researchers, doctors, coders and public health experts belonging to different institutes across India. It was started with the aim of filling the gaps in the reporting of the number of cases and other statistics related to Covid-19 or coronavirus. The data showcased on the platform is not just meaningful but also easy to understand for the Indian population, journalists as well as reporters. It helps one to have a better understanding of the local data so that one can respond accordingly. The reason why the information presented here is so accurate is because it uses reliable scientific methods to calculate outbreak indicators. Moreover each state’s progress in the pandemic is updated daily so that it can be visualised properly.

Dashboard Content

Covidtoday presents a great deal of information which can help one not just know the basic number of cases, deaths, recoveries but also analyse the progress of the disease. Here is a list of some information heads that you can find on the website:

● Total number of cases in India
● Active cases
● Recovered cases
● Deaths
● Tests done
● Reproduction number
● Doubling time
● Recovery rate
● Fatality rate
● Test positivity

There is also a graphical representation of the daily positive cases, daily tests, effective reproduction number, positivity rate, doubling time as well as social distancing. These representations help one understand the numbers in comparison to previous data. Moreover, the Dashboard of the website also enables one to have a look at all these numbers and statistics state wise. This helps one fathom the spread of the infection in their particular state. For those who may have difficulty understanding the terms or indicators, there are proper definitions on the site as well.
The Dashboard of the platform also enables you to read about the transmission indicators which are Effective Reproduction Number and Mobility Index as well as the Testing Indicators which are Test Positivity Rate and Corrected Case Fatality Rate. These definitions help us to understand the tables and graphs well and thus analyze the response to the pandemic in India.

Methods

One may wonder what methods exactly COVID TODAY uses so as to present precise, updated and well researched data to its users. The platform makes use of an open sourced code on Github which is used to extract, clean and analyze the data so as to calculate the outbreak indicators for different states. The code thus creates reliable and clean datasets for the users. The platform clearly mentions its data sources so that users can be sure of its accuracy and reliability. For the user’s reference, here is a list of the data sources used by COVID TODAY.

Raw data for cases and tests
Data for mobility index
Distribution of delay from symptom onset to confirmation
Distribution of serial interval
Distribution of delay from hospitalisation to death
Population data

The Team

For an initiative like COVID TODAY to provide accurate data on Covid-19 or coronavirus and bring useful information to a large population, a lot of hard work goes in and that is not possible without a rather rich team of doctors, researchers and coders. Here are some team members of COVID TODAY who are responsible for enriching us with date and information that truly matters:

● Dr Mohak Gupta, MBBS, AIIMS Delhi
● Saptarshi Mohanta (Rishi), BS-MS, IISER Pune
● Pratik Mandlecha, B.Tech CSE, IIIT Hyderabad. Data & Applied Scientist at Microsoft
● Aditya Garg, B.Tech CSE, VIT Vellore. Software Developer at Barclays

Technical Consulting and IT Support:

● Siddharth Jain, Integrated B.Tech-MBA, IIIT Gwalior
● Apurva Thakker, B.Tech CSE, BFCET Bathinda
● Abhinav Gupta, CA Inter, B.Com
● Devarsh Patel, BS-MS, IISER Pune

Public Health Advisory Panel

● Dr Giridhara R Babu
Professor & Head, Life Course Epidemiology at Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI). Wellcome Trust DBT India Alliance Fellow. Member of the Technical Advisory Committee to the Karnataka Government on COVID-19.
● Dr Habib Hasan Farooqui
Faculty at Indian Institute of Public Health Delhi, Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI)
● Dr Archisman Mohapatra
Executive Director at GRID Council (Generating Research Insights for Development)
● Dr Hemant Deepak Shewade
Senior Operational Research Fellow, Center for Operational Research, International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union)

All you need to know about iCart

As mentioned earlier, iCart is the team which has helped create COVID TODAY. iCART is basically a volunteer organization which is composed of researchers, doctors, students from multiple fields as well as tech developers. The team is open to collaboration with any organization or person who has the same vision, goals and interests. What started as a small team from AIIMS Delhi has now expanded and grown into a full fledged research and development group with the main aim of acting as a catalyst for a response to the COVID – 19 pandemic. The individuals of the team that makes iCart are involved in epidemiological and clinical research at the topmost hospitals across the country.

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