COVID-19 Tracking: Instagram Founders Launch New Website To Better Understand Spread Of Virus


COVID-19 crisis is escalating and every enterprise is pitching a way to combat it. Instagram is the latest one to step in to fight the coronavirus. Instagram founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger have come together to launch a new website to show live data on the rate of spread of COVID-19 from one person to another.

COVID-19 Tracking: Instagram Founders Launch Website To Combat Virus


Dubbed as, the website uses data from The COVID Tracking Project, an organization that collects testing and infection rates, to calculate whether the infection has spread or not. Presently the website is running in the US alone, by giving data of every state.

Here, Rt stands for Reproduction Rate and tracks the effective Rt of the deadly virus for all states separately. The idea is to give an estimate of the number of people who got infected by a single person. "Values over 1.0 mean we should expect more cases in that area, values under 1.0 mean we should expect fewer," says the website.

How Does Help?

COVID-19 Tracking: Instagram Founders Launch Website To Combat Virus

Instagram founders Systrom and Krieger note that the data shown on helps look at the spread of the virus with a region-specific approach. According to the data updated on April 20, 25 out of 50 states in the US have an Rt of less than 1. The website also has a bifurcation in two colors. Where states with Rt rate above 1.0 are indicated in red and those below are in green.


The latest update on the website showed that the state of Connecticut was the slowest with Rt at 0.37 and North Dakota the fastest with Rt at 2.2. Other states like New York, California, Ohio have Rt at 0.45, 1.1, and 1.9 respectively, shown in green and red. Further, a graphical representation of the Rt is also given for a better understanding of the spread of the virus over time.

It should be noted that the data also has a couple of limitations. The website notes that a fast increase in the decline in the testing rates will affect the numbers. Also, the delay between the onset of sickness in a person and testing positive is not reflected in these numbers.

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