The COVID-19 pandemic is rapidly escalating in the United States, which is now leading the world in the number of infected persons by a considerable margin. Additionally, New York’s alarming exponential growth in confirmed cases has marked it as the epicenter of the United States outbreak. In fact, New York now has more confirmed cases than any other country besides the United States. At the time of writing, New York has just reported a record-high one-day death total of 799 people. Unfortunately, these numbers are still far from slowing as the apex of this pandemic has yet to arrive.
New York’s unprecedented growth in confirmed cases can be largely attributed to widespread community misinformation. Realizing this key issue, Daniel You, Danny Li, Davesh Valagolam, and Justin Shen at Jericho Senior High School, conducted a community-wide survey through social media platforms such as Facebook, WeChat, and Instagram. We found out that many people still have difficulty finding up-to-date testing center information. Thus, as avid volunteers and residents of Nassau County, we decided to address this concern by creating COVID Central (www.covidcentral.org), a website that serves as an up-to-date, centralized database for all testing locations available in New York. To optimize user convenience, we developed an interactive and movable map that can be accessed through a simple zip code search query. Testing center points were mapped into GEOJSON formatted files and rendered using mapbox after gathering geographic data from a multitude of news sources. Food distribution centers were similarly plotted using the New York Health Department of Education website through various Python packages.
We recognized the incredible value of clear and organized information in such a time of crisis, and further included additional services such as a self-diagnostic tool and an automatically updating RSS news feed. Currently, COVID Central now provides comprehensive coverage surrounding COVID-19 in the entire country, even in states not nearly as at risk as New York. Ultimately, our mission statement is to “address a critical lack in user accessibility to key COVID-19 information such as localized data, testing & food centers, risk assessment procedures, and news announcements by serving as a comprehensive, feature-packed, all-in-one database.”