The role of data analytics has played in the spread of COVID-19 and the people’s curiosity for information has initiated the creation of open-source data sets and visualizations, paving the way for a discipline as pandemic analytics. Data analytics is the collection and examination of data from many sources to derive insights, and when used to study and fight global outbreaks, data analytics is a new way to fight a problem as old as humanity itself: the proliferation of disease.

These solutions are introduced by machine learning algorithms that bring in predictive insights based on all accessible data about the spread of the disease, such as confirmed cases, deaths, test results, contact tracing, population density, demographics, migration flow, availability of medical resources, and pharma stockpiles.

The viral spread has a small silver lining: the exponential creation of new data that we can learn from and act upon. The equalization of analytics tools, combined with the mass ability to share information via the internet, has allowed us to witness the impressive power of data used for good. During the recent events, companies have brought pandemic data gathering in-house to develop their occupancy intelligence.

For instance, telecommunications companies could observe which areas would bring in more profit for them through an infrastructure upgrade that allows more firms to utilize high-tech options, like connected equipment and apps, to get their businesses running again. By understanding the links between analytics and COVID-19, people in positions of power could make more confident decisions.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, said: “You cannot fight a fire blindfolded.” The right information in the hands of the right people can save lives in a time of crisis. It will be very important to ensure that such health surveillance measures will not prevail beyond the extreme circumstances we are facing today so that people do not feel they are losing their privacy in the new world order.

image Credit: BMC 

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