The U.S. is at a pivotal threshold. All 50 states are beginning to reopen in some form or fashion after the coronavirus (COVID-19) sent the country into lockdown. See how all 50 states are reopening in this New York Times piece.
Since the COVID-19 crisis began, epidemiologists have warned of a potential second wave of cases. Will one emerge as states reopen?
A new tracking tool developed at the University of Missouri provides a continuously updated 14-day snapshot of new cases of COVID-19 in every county in the nation, helping the public monitor trends in cases as local stay-at-home restrictions are lifted and other measures are gradually repealed.
See the tracking tool:
The dashboard versions were developed by MU Extension’s Center for Applied Research and Engagement Systems (CARES). The maps and data show changes in the number of cases by county. The tool also provides a longer view of the effect of containment measures — or lack thereof — showing new cases within the current 14-day period compared to the number of new cases in the prior 15 to 28 days.
Separate charts by county show often dramatic trends that go back as far as the oldest case in each county.
“Our hope is that these dashboards provide additional context to people as they make decisions about resuming pre-COVID activities,” says Justin Krohn, CARES research project analyst and tracker designer in a news release.
While the understanding of COVID-19 is still changing, the 14-day period is relevant because that is the typical incubation period between when a person first contracts the virus and becomes contagious and can infect others. In addition, many states, including Missouri, say 14 days is the period over which communities need to have a downward trajectory of documented COVID-19 cases before lifting stay-at-home orders — orders that many jurisdictions are not able to enforce, said
The data can help illustrate the importance of helping to control the spread of the virus by maintaining simple measures like social distancing of 6 feet and wearing masks, explains Kathleen Quinn, associate dean for rural health in the MU School of Medicine and MU Extension senior program director for health and safety.