Two years after Instagram founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger sold their creation to Facebook, they have come together once again and brought us 'Rt.live.' The application is designed to monitor and track the coronavirus infection spread in every state.
The way it works is by calculating the effective reproductive rate (Rt), which is the infection rate in a given time. It estimates the number of secondary infections that are brought by a single person with the virus. A more immediate threat is depicted with a number above one, while less urgent cases are given less than one.
The system is placed to display a simple and understandable graph that shows each states' Rt and shows an approximate understanding of how dangerous an area currently. The hazardous areas are shown in red, while the safer albeit still relatively critical locations are shown in green.
As of April 18, Connecticut had the lowest score of 0.42, while North Dakota garnered a worrisome 1.7 due to not having any shelter in place.
The application also has a few handy features such as filters that allow you to compare what different states have come up with to fight the infection. It is possible to view the Rt of states which have had no shelter put in place, the ten largest states, and by geographical location.
The date Rt.live uses comes from The COVID Tracking Project that volunteered to keep track of coronavirus patients' testing information and outcomes.
Krieger told TechCrunch that his previous partner, Systrom, had been sharing open-source data analysis notebooks on the process of calculating Rt daily. With the new application, they can make public the work so that anyone would have the capability to see the situation of the state they are in as well as other states they would like to know about.
The pair shared their delight in being able to work with each other again and how they were able to quickly share their creation to help the community in tracking and keeping an eye out for the deadly virus.
Heading into the future
The two hope that the information they have could help local government officials thinking about whether or how to start opening up their communities again by utilizing and carefully monitoring their own Rt.
Systrom said in an interview with Bloomberg; he hopes the application they developed will aid residents in understanding the severity of the danger and if they are part of a community that is more at risk of the infection. He also stated the importance of the dashboard's live information into the effects of the coronavirus.
Neither of the two founders has any background in health or Epidemiology, but it becomes irrelevant as statistical models share a similarity with the virus' growth. They don't expect to bring Rt.live into a company as its primary purpose is just tracking the movement of the virus and sharing it to communities.