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Student develops new app to share COVID-19 information

Katie Cowart

The pandemic continues to inspire creative responses in and out of the classroom. Faisal Hossain, a computer science major at the University of Georgia, and William Darko, a computer science and mathematics major at Hunter College, have developed a web application to provide the public with a better quantitative understanding of the current state of COVID-19. 

The application features an interactive globe with the infected countries plotted with a display of the counts of that country’s active, death and recovered rated. The application also contains various charts, graphs, and critical trends to provide multiple interpretations of the COVID-19 data. 

The data is sourced from Johns Hopkins CSSE providing real-time and reliable updates. The website operates on local time and pulls new, updated data every 10 minutes. Cases only include people who were tested and confirmed positive.

“Currently, this dataset is one of the most reliable and accurate datasets on COVID-19 because it aggregates from several dozen individual datasets,” said Hossain. “All the individual datasets they use are reputable sources including the World Health Organization, European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, New York State Department of Health, and others.”

The current Application Programming Interface (API) only provides recovered counts for countries, not specific states, cities, or provinces. Hossain and Darko are in the process of testing other APIs to work along with their current one to address this.

“Problems that arise when determining if an API is suitable for our application are accuracy, reliability, scalability, and functionality,” said Hossain. “We need an API that gathers information and data from reputable sources, minimum downtime, the ability to scale large datasets into our app with minimum load time and lag, and lastly, we are looking for an API with well-written documentation for easy implementation, integration, and error-handling.”

Hossain and Darko are both alumni of All-Star Code (ASC), an organization that teaches computer science to young underprivileged men of color. ASC’s goal is to create economic opportunity by developing a new generation of young men of color with an entrepreneurial mindset by providing them with the tools they need to succeed in a technological world - whether those tools be technical skills, alumni networks, and even access to Fortune500 companies’ workspace.

“ASC sparked my interest in coding and opened my eyes to impactful possibilities that can be reached with code,” said Hossain. “It is my passion to return the service by developing programs and applications that can make a difference in the world.”


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