In a press conference on Monday March 16 about the coronavirus pandemic, Pres. Trump said that we have a problem that, a month ago, nobody thought about.
But Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! interviewed someone who not only thought about it back in December, but did something about it.
17-year-old Avi Schiffmann, a high school junior from Mercer Island (outside Seattle), who says he has been programming for about a decade, coded a central hub of information website that has been tracking cases of coronavirus around the world since December. He said, “the main goal of it was to provide just an easy way to see the straight facts and the data”without having to make a website that was biased or (full of ads). “
Over 40 million people use his site.
According to Democracy NOW, his website tracks deaths, numbers of cases locally and globally, provides an interactive map, information on the disease, and a Twitter feed. The resource pulls information from the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and elsewhere.
The site updates continuously: “I basically just wrote a script that every minute or so just goes to those websites and downloads the latest information. “
He also wants to keep his website on the positive side: ” I decided that it would be really cool if I could show how many people were recovering, to give people a more positive outlook and maybe more hope. So I added that to the quick facts. In every single country, you can see how many people have recovered, which I think gives people a lot of hope, because you can see, in places like Korea, I think, they reported more people that recovered today (he was interviewed on March 17) than people that had been infected, which is really big.”
At the time of this writing, Shiffman’s live Coronavirus dashboard shows just over 19,000 deaths, worldwide.
It can be useful to be informed. It is also useful to understand information in context, and to view it from a greater perspective:
The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have killed at least 500,000 people according to a 2018 report.
There were 1.4 million casualties (on both sides of the conflict) during the Vietnam War.