Facebook and Carnegie Mellon University launch COVID-19 symptom map

Facebook and Carnegie Mellon University launch COVID-19 symptom map

Facebook, in partnership with Carnegie Mellon University, has launched a new interactive map to help people keep up to date with the spread of coronavirus across the US.

For now, the map is based on surveys carried out around the country and it enables you to see how many people are experiencing symptoms associated with the disease. The map only covers the US at the moment, but there are plans to expand it to cover other countries soon.

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Facebook says that it is "uniquely suited" to gathering information like this because of its presence all over the world. In the coming weeks, surveys will be expanded to other countries to help provide a better global view of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a post on his personal Facebook page, Mark Zuckerberg wrote:

Today we're releasing the first maps of the Covid-19 symptoms people have reported experiencing county-by-county across the US, based on aggregate data from the opt-in survey we're running with researchers at Carnegie Mellon. We'll update these maps daily through this outbreak.

Understanding how Covid-19 is spreading is critical for local governments and public health officials as they allocate scarce resources like ventilators and PPE, and eventually to decide when it is safe to start re-opening different places. Researchers believe these symptom survey maps can be an important tool in making these decisions.

Facebook is uniquely suited to run these surveys because we serve a global community of billions of people and can do statistically accurate sampling. We do this in a privacy protective way where only the researchers at Carnegie Mellon see individual survey responses -- and Facebook only sees aggregated data.

The next step is to start running these surveys globally this week. This will allow us to expand the symptom maps to provide county-by-county data across almost every country in the world where Facebook operates.

We're also looking for more research partners around the world to help generate insights from this aggregate data to help with the Covid-19 response. We'll share more details on how to get involved soon.

The Facebook and Carnegie Mellon University launch COVID-19 symptom map is available here.

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