Since COVID-19 first started to spread in December 2019, it has made its way around the world. When it came to the United States, there were initially a few cases in Seattle, but the first major hotspot was New York City. Now, a few months later, places like Arizona, South Carolina and Florida are new hotspots for the virus. It can be difficult to keep track of the spread, so the Harvard Global Health Institute has partnered with other organisations to provide an updated map indicating the hardest-hit parts of the country.
How the map works
If there’s one thing we’ve learned over the past few months, it’s that what we know about the novel coronavirus today may no longer be relevant a few weeks from now. “The public needs clear and consistent information about COVID risk levels in different jurisdictions for personal decision-making, and policy-makers need clear and consistent visibility that permits differentiating policy across jurisdictions,” Danielle Allen, director of the Edmond J. Safra Centre for Ethics at Harvard University said in a statement. “We also collectively need to keep focused on what should be our main target: a path to near zero case incidence.”
Part of Harvard’s strategy is using the new COVID Risk Level map to show which cities and states have become hotspots, with increasing daily cases. The map allows users to hover over a state or county to see detailed information on COVID-19 cases and death counts. Risk levels are calculated based on the number of daily cases per 100,000 people. Harvard updates the map regularly, including a running list of the states in order of how quickly the virus is spreading.
The aim of the map is to help researchers and policymakers come up with more effective reopening strategies. “The metrics are now clear: we can reopen and keep open our workplaces and our communities,” Jonathan D. Quick, managing director for Pandemic Response, Preparedness, and Prevention, The Rockefeller Foundation said in a statement. “But achieving this will require a dramatic expansion of testing and tracing to again flatten the curve and eventually suppress the pandemic to near zero new cases.”