During a pandemic, it is important to correct falsehoods with evidence-based information, but facts against misinformation can sometimes be ineffective. Rumours and myths are an opportunity to understand and respond to anxieties of the people spreading them, and then adjusting messaging to respond to those.
“Epidemics often become an opportunity for people to express deeper worries,” says Melissa Leach, the director of the U.K.-based Institute of Development Studies (IDS). In fact, Leach balks at the term rumours, which she finds dismissive. Call them “anxieties,” she says. Leach and other social scientists have come to see those anxieties as legitimate reactions that can be mined for useful insight — insight that can help public health officials tailor their messaging.
Rumors spread for political or sinister reasons should simply be debunked though.
NOTE: The scale of the spread has meant that the individual data is no longer relevant or useful. This visualization has been removed to reduce any confusion. See the main dashboard for up to date information.
I stumbled across the Covid-19 India Ops telegram group and through that the covid19india.org dev group. The people there have setup a website for live tracking, a way to report new patients and even a cluster map. They also have a live updated API end-point that provides patient data in JSON. Not limited to the total number of cases and their location, the data has patient demographics and reporting dates.
I started working on a tool that others can use to make sense of the data. Since I don’t understand the domain and nuances of the data, I have made no attempt to interpret it.
You can check-out the live dashboard here — Interactive Covid-19 India Dashboard — please share it with someone who might find it useful.
The above dashboard was made using dc.js which brings crossfilter and d3 together to be able to filter the visualisation on the fly by interacting with the charts. While making this I had help from two Sanjaya’s — one Sanjay helped me figure out the GeoJSON file and the projects, and another Sanjaya pointed out some key UX improvements. There are still quite a few things to fix and I’ve noted them in Github issues. As always, pull requests are welcome on Github.