Data Science and Analytics Might Just be the Tools to Hurl COVID-19 Demolition


The COVID-19 pandemic has spurred the need for big data to track the outspread of the rapid-moving pathogen and unveil disease prevention and cures. Governments and enterprises across the world are monitoring the location and traveling data of millions of mobile and internet users to understand how the virus works and spreads, and to know if social distancing measures are working. Unlike surveillance methods that track someone’s movements, big data analyses the humongous amount of data sets to unleash people’s movement patterns and behaviour during the pandemic.

Tech Giants’ Data-backed Support During COVID-19

To provide useful insights about whether social distancing is useful during this pandemic, Google has launched Community Mobility Reports. The main aim of the project is to help countries take preferable initiatives to reduce COVID-19 spread and to unveil the hidden patterns. Meanwhile, Facebook with its research partner is working on Disease Prevention Maps initiative to determine data on population motion and attachment patterns to forecast disease spread and compliance with public health prevention measures.

Spotting the Unusual Before Anyone Else

The Canadian Startup- BlueDot had spotted the earliest anomalies of Pneumonia like disease happening around a market in Wuhan, China, and highlighted that in late December 2019. Right after one week of this ground-breaking revelation, WHO and the CDC in the U.S. declared an outbreak of an unheard influenza-like illness at the same location.

BlueDot uses an AI algorithm to analyse big data analytics undertaking thousands of sources to track and study infectious diseases. Their surveillance service includes airline ticketing data, news reports, health data, and disease networks to track the emergence of any kind of disease outbreak. The company was able to predict the pandemic from Wuhan to across different parts of the world with the help of airline ticketing data.

Tracking and Finding the Cure

Mobile phone data plays a very important role in tracking the patterns of people and movement. This helps in forecasting where the disease will likely spread. The location statistic helps in analysing the outspread of the disease and allocating the required resources as per the population distribution in an area. A similar situation happened during the Ebola epidemic of 2014 where the US researchers developed a travel-census model to forecast exactly where in the Texas area a patient would be found.

Data science and analytics can be of great help by analysing the extensive people tested by integrating these results with anonymized health physiognomies with hospitalised patients. This will provide the healthcare sector to determine the crucial risk factors and with better precautions to protect people with those risks. However, the problem is there isn’t enough data to make better predictions as the virus is totally new in case of the Coronavirus disease. More data means better analysis resulting in a better management of the pandemic. Doing so will also provide insights about when and how social distancing and lockdown should be lifted.

Medical technology-based organisations are working on developing AI models that can create new molecules to stop the contagious virus from replication. While, Google’s DeepMind issued a report deliberating their ways to envisage the structure of proteins contained in SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Coronavirus. Countries across the world are struggling to cope up with the deadly Coronavirus pandemic. In this situation, futuristic technologies like Big Data, Data Analytics and AI are helping in many ways to eliminate the virus before it’s too late.