Info-tech

Here’s how Google is helping researchers with data to study the Covid-19 impact

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on September 19, 2020 Published on September 19, 2020

Google has developed a Covid-19 Open Data repository using Google Cloud to help researchers get data that can help in studying the impacts of Covid-19.

The open-source resource contains epidemiological data and related variables such as economic indicators and population statistics from over 50 countries.

“Each data source contains information on its origin, and how it’s processed so that researchers can confirm its validity and reliability. It can also be used with Data Commons, BigQuery datasets, as well as other initiatives which aggregate regional datasets,” Google said in a blog post.

Google datasets

It is also adding a Search Trends symptoms dataset to the repository aggregating anonymized search trends for over 400 symptoms.

“This will help researchers better understand the spread of Covid-19 and its potential secondary health impacts,” Google said.

Multiple studies in the past have hypothesized that internet search trends for various Covid-19 symptoms can help identify Covid-19 hotpots.

For instance, a recent study led by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital stated that mapping Internet searches for certain gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms can help in predicting Covid-19 hotspots.

Apart from search data on symptoms, the repository will also have two other Google datasets including its Covid-19 Community Mobility Reports, “which provide anonymized insights into movement trends to understand the impact of policies like shelter in place.”

Data modelling

It has also added tools to help researchers with data modelling.

“Google researchers have developed an open-source agent-based simulator that utilizes real-world data to simulate populations to help public health organizations fine tune their exposure notification parameters,” Google said.

Google’s data repository can be accessed on GitHub.

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Published on September 19, 2020
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