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Indian-Origin Techie in USA United Coders from Apple, Amazon to Create COVID-19 Tracker

Indian-Origin Techie in USA United Coders from Apple, Amazon to Create COVID-19 Tracker

Prem Ramaswami of Alphabet's Sidewalk Labs brought together friends from multiple tech giants to create 'covidnearyou', a free to use coronavirus tracker.

With the coronavirus pandemic still accelerating in many parts of the world, individuals are coming up with contributions in varying shapes and forms. One such contribution, angled at American individuals to track the spread of the coronavirus in the country, is — a free to use tracking website that offers you details about the spread of SARS-CoV-2 across USA. Additionally, the website also asks you about any symptoms that you might be facing, asking you if you're feeling fine, or a bit under the weather. Depending on your response, the site offers you either a simple form asking if you've received the flu vaccine, or which of 14 selected symptoms might you be facing.

Additionally, scrolling down on the website shows past two weeks of COVID-19 activity in whichever region you wish to search for. You can do this by simply entering the ZIP code. However, the tracking service appears to be offline or broken at the moment, since the latest numbers on the website remain unavailable. If you aren't feeling well, you can select the listed symptoms on the site (or opt for other and describe your problem precisely), following which you would be asked more details, such as how many days has it been since you fell sick, if you've consulted a doctor, if you've received a flu vaccine, if you have remained in quarantine, if you've recently been in contact with anyone who may have tested positive for COVID-19, and lastly, if you have any travel history that you would like to disclose.

The website was built by a group of 30 volunteers in USA working in multiple technology giants. The project was started by Sidewalk Labs' product head, Prem Ramaswami, when both he and his wife were down with COVID-19 symptoms, but were denied tests by a doctor since they were not clearly in contact with a known COVID-19 patient. He then contacted John Brownstein, the chief innovation officer of Boston Children's Hospital and one of silicon valley's favourite doctors, who then directed him towards the idea of such a website. Ramaswami subsequently brought together a group of his coder friends, who work in myriad IT-related jobs in USA in companies such as Apple, Amazon, Alphabet, CloudFlare, MongoDB and other technology majors, who worked for six straight nights to come up with this website.

Covidnearyou also partners with Harvard Medical School, which offers it reliable content access, therefore making it a very trustworthy website. Going forward, it remains to be seen if such public web hostings see a better response than government-run sites for being information sources. More importantly, it also marks the initiation of a new website that can help many ease their tensions with a lightweight, easy to run and use source of comprehensive information on COVID-19.