These pages are part of a provision of research support and are not for commercial use. Please ensure you attribute the research and any government data. It is also collated here to support fellow communicators and IT consultants in finding official sources of information and to help counteract misinformation. Additional data will be added to this page as virus tracing apps are developed and in use by governments.
- World Health Organization data
- Global data monitoring
- European data
- UK data
- Academic research and tracking apps
- Tracker apps using Bluetooth connectivity
- Monitoring geographic distribution
- Planning and forecasting tools shared
- Analysing why more deaths occurring amongst minorities from COVID-19
- Adapting testing and tracking systems to support COVID-19 detection
- Collecting electronic data in the UK to improve understanding
- Mapping COVID-19 spread
- Social distancing management in cities
- Relieving mental health issues during COVID-19
- Chatbots and data solutions
- Open source and data visualisation
World Health Organization data
Situation Reports, World Health Organization
– these are regularly updated by the WHO.
– report on 17 March 2020, shows epidemic curve of cases by date of report and WHO region.
Eight immediate research actions to control the epidemic were identified at the WHO’s global research and innovation forum in mid-February 2020.
International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) recommendations after the forum meetings.
Global data monitoring
There are many academic bodies pursuing analysis on the global COVID-19 picture. One of the main ones is the Johns Hopkins Resource Center, in the US, which is collating international figures. It has created a COVID-19 data hub and mapping.
Podcast featuring the Center on tracking COVID-19, 24 April 2020, Bloomberg website.
Patterns of risk
New York University research from an experimental AI tool to predict which COVID-19 patients are likely to get the sickest. Published on the World Economic Forum website.
Potential impact of behavioural and social interventions on an epidemic of COVID-19 in the UK, 9 March 2020 (updated 20 March) https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/potential-impact-of-behavioural-and-social-interventions-on-an-epidemic-of-covid-19-in-the-uk-9-march-2020 Updated paper on the impact of behavioural and social interventions for the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE).
Situation Dashboard for the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control
– updated daily
– can be searched using time period filters
COVID-19 coronavirus cases tracker, UK Government
Public Health England dashboard, updated every afternoon.
Using data to track coronavirus – blog by Public Health England (PHE). First published 23 April 2020. This provides a good explanation of the data is uses, which it described as “based both on cases of coronavirus confirmed by laboratories, but also ’syndromic surveillance’ which uses anonymised real-time health data collected from a wide range of sources, such as GPs, hospitals or even Google searches.
“Surveillance systems are chosen so they can be measured regularly and consistently. No single piece of data tells the whole story of any outbreak, nor can any system provide a definitive figure for exactly how many people could have COVID-19 as many will have a mild illness and never report it to the health services.”
This type of data evaluation is aimed at enabling more informed judgements about emerging trends, geographical variations and the groups of people most affected.”
National COVID-19 surveillance reports, PHE. It explains that it uses a variety of real time data at local and national level. The report is breaks down confirmed COVID-19 cases by PHE’s 9 centres across the country and by NHS regions. Surveillance documented in the report covers community, primary and secondary care, virological and mortality.
In addition to PHE’s weekly surveillance reports, it also publishes weekly infographics.
The NHS has also adapted its Flu Survey tool to monitor community prevalence and trend of symptoms related to COVID-19.
More information on public health work and communications resources can be found in the COVID-19 section of this site.
UK daily statistics are updated on the CIPR’s local public sector resource for communicators. This resource, led by Abha Thakor from Non Stop News UK, also contains links to Government statements, communications approaches and messaging, and other materials.
Academic research and tracking apps
Also view our report on contact tracing apps.
A study by Science Magazine (9 Apr 2020) is being used by many working on options public health response and tracing apps globally. It can help in assessing what essential information is needed, and in planning for privacy right from the design stage of any apps. This can also assist in communications plans for results of trends, hubspots, and behaviour change campaigns to encourage containment in particular areas to protect local residents.
Oxford University COVID-19 Evidence Service is a useful resource. It also refers to the study by Science Magazine.
Much work is stored on GitHub in this area. This includes materials from the University of Oxford’s work exploring #COVID-19 instant tracing technologies and part of its mathematical modelling.
Tracker apps using Bluetooth connectivity
The API Google and Apple are using in their partnership with health authorities globally is public. The tracker apps they are building with governments will give individuals information on whether they have been near someone who has reported through the app that they have potential or confirmed coronavirus. Each Government will run its own server for these apps which use Bluetooth and in later phases will have PWA functionality. The onus is on the individual mobile phone user to update the app on whether they have a positive infection. Other tracking systems being explored or built mainly run via GPS.
In the UK, the University of Oxford is involved with this work in many areas.
Some important principles highlighted in this report on future development and updates to existing infrastructure and privacy frameworks of contact tracing apps from the Association of Computing Machinery’s Europe Technology Policy Committee. (May 2020, PDF)
Monitoring geographic distribution
The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) Research and Surveillance Centre, now based at Oxford, has worked with PHE for more than 50 years experience of monitoring influenza and other infectious diseases, including three previous pandemics. The RCGP’s surveillance work has been extended to monitor the ‘temporal and geographical distribution of COVID-19 infection in the community as well as assess the effectiveness of the containment strategy.’ Its research and findings will be important in public health communications messaging.
RCGP’s Surveillance Centre protocol relating to COVID-19, JMIR Public Health and Surveillance
Planning and forecasting tools shared
Imperial College’s Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis is publishing its reports on COVID-19, tools developed by the College’s response team and its scientific resources. Its planning tools include:
- hospital planning tool
- daily updated estimates for Europe
- weekly short term global forecasts
Analysing why more deaths occurring amongst minorities from COVID-19
Nishi Chaturvedi, Professor for Epidemiology at University College London (UCL) published an article on 23 April 2020 considering demography, co-morbidities and age when analysing why more people from minorities are dying from COVID-19.
The Guardian article (22 April 2020) and BBC Radio 4 programme
Adapting testing and tracking systems to support COVID-19 detection
A team developing rapid tests and tracking systems for COVID-19 is being led by professors from UCL in collaboration with the WHO, Public Health England and Africa CDC (to build hospital capacity). i-sense technologies are being adapted for use in emergency diagnostics and surveillance of COVID-19 to assess the prevalence of the virus.
This includes adapting point-of-care diagnostic tests via specialist smartphones to detect more quickly the presence of COVID-19 outside a specialist laboratory. They would be able to send results in real-time and use geo-linked information to help identify hubspots, according to i-sense. Working with UCL Hospital, they are building real-time data dashboards to support patient management. This builds on their work on flu.
The i-sense smartphone-based technology could lead to a “simple rapid test that can be rapidly deployed for control programmes to use real-time, location-linked data in communities to inform containment strategies and other interventions to end the epidemic,” said Professor Rosanna Peeling, Prof and Chair of Diagnostics Research, and Director of International Diagnostics Centre at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
How i-sense technologies are being adapted
Collecting electronic data in the UK to improve understanding
The University of Birmingham is the lead organisation for a health data research hub for acute care known as ‘Pioneer’. It collects information from various sources, such as, ambulance services, hospital trusts, community health practitioners.
Researchers at the hub analyse how acutely unwell people access and use health services. In terms of the current emergency, this analysis is aimed at helping “us understand the progress of the pandemic and how it impacts on both COVID and non-COVID patients.” according to Pioneer.
The University is also creating a cancer coronavirus registry to track the impact on cancer patients who have tested positive for COVID-19.
Mapping COVID-19 spread
The COVID-19 Genomics UK Consortium, COG-UK, is mapping how COVID-19 spreads and evolves using whole-genome sequencing. It consists of NHS trusts, public health agencies, universities, UK Research and Innovation, and the Wellcome Trust Sanger. The University of Cambridge and the Wellcome Trust Sanger will co-ordinate the study. The Quadram Institute Bioscience will be involved in the analysis. COG-UK will co-ordinate with other studies on the spread of the disease.
Samples for study from patients with confirmed cases of COVID-19 are being sent to sequencing centres. The consortium will share its learning with these bodies and the UK Government. It is expected that the data will allow scientists to monitor changes in the virus across the country to understand how it spreads and whether different strains are emerging.
Communications impact: As the consortium produces intelligence this can also be used to guide communications messaging and any changes to actions for the public.
Launch of COG-UK, Gov.uk, 23 April 2020.
“Genomic sequencing will help us understand COVID-19 and its spread. It can also help guide treatments in the future and see the impact of interventions.”Government Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance
Social distancing management in cities
Work at the Turing Institute to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic
Communicators wanting to understand how AI can be used to assess effectiveness of messages, read Project Odysseus. It is capturing activity in London to aid effective strategies to manage lockdown. It will explore multiple large-scale and heterogeneous datasets capturing mobility, transportation and traffic activity across the city of London. It will build on work by O’Hara et al, 2019 from the London air project on relieving crowded roads and paths when undertaking exercise of travel.
Relieving mental health issues during COVID-19
The Turing Institute blog explores socially-distanced language monitoring and AI and real time AI monitors that could help identify mental health issues. Article published 21 May 2020.
Chatbots and data solutions
Tech giant IBM called on developers to work together to help tackle COVID-19. In mid-March 2020, it expanded the Call for Code Global Challenge to include both climate change and COVID-19. Together with Creator David Clark Cause and in partnership with United Nations Human Rights and the Linux Foundation, they are asking “developers, data scientists, and problem solvers to answer the call”.
The original Submission deadline was 27 April with three solutions to be announced on 5 May 2020 at the Think Virtual Conference.
It has produced starter kits on three topics:
- crisis communications
- remote education
- community co-operation
These give information on each of the problems to help developers focus on potential solutions.
Using deep learning to take on the COVID-19 crisis article website by Casper Hansen On the IBM Developer website (21 April 2020).
Open source and data visualisation
Using Python to visualise COVID-19 projections
This article by engineer Anurag Gupta uses data for India using open source data and libraries. Article published 21 April 2020. It could be adapted for other countries. Also on the OpenSource.com website there are articles on how to use Python libraries.
How open source is fighting COVID-19
Jeff Stern’s article on Open Source.com on 27 March 2020 gives a view of how open source is responding to the pandemic. He highlights some of he examples of how this work is making an impact. He also describes why each type of project he highlights is important and how this kind of open source learning and sharing can make a difference.
His list includes: COVID-19 Hospital Impact Model for Epidemics (CHIME), an open source application from Pennsylvania to enable hospitals to improve understanding on hospital demand from the virus.
Stern also gives examples of how open source can build on previous versions to create different but useful resources. He uses the example of Locale.ai interactive visualisation which uses the John Hopkins dataset.
Maps that track the number of cases help us visualize the relative scale and spread of COVID-19. Locale.ai created an open source, interactive visualization of all known cases of COVID-19. The map provides live updates with new data as it becomes available.
More international data is contained in our in-depth review paper. Here are some current key areas.
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Cases in the US (CDC)
COVID data tracker, US (CDC)
Government of India’s COVID-19 statistics. Break down by states.
It has launched a Bluetooth based app tracker, Aarogya. It is available in 11 different languages (at 25 April 2020). It can be downloaded via Android and Apple app stores.
Mapping of patients in Japan, Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare
The City of Tokyo’s visualisations include data direct from residents on its Stop COVID website (English language page link).