GIS TECHNOLOGY IN CORONA VIRUS DISEASE SURVEILLANCE
Corona Virus, otherwise known as COVID-19 is a respiratory disease that mainly affects the respiratory system and is characterized by sneezing, headache, tiredness and a dry cough.
The disease has an incubation period on between 1-14 days before developing symptoms, which is why people are advised to take a 14-day personal quarantine to avoid the spread and also ascertain that you are not infected. We cannot ignore the massive progress that has been made in this field, despite the fact that there has not been found a cure nor a vaccine. One of the best ways to join in the fight against this virus is by washing your hand regularly with soap and running water. It is also advisable to use hand sanitizers to disinfect your hands regularly as well. Remember, that it can be spread from coming into contact with contaminated persons or surfaces and this may include even money as well, which is why people are encouraged to use mobile money transfer methods and most importantly stay at home.
With scientist working around the clock to minimize the spread and also try and get a cure for the novel disease, Corona Virus, or as many of you will call it, Covid-19, they need help from every available channel and geographical data analyst have risen to the task once again to help and show them in a simplified version how the virus is spreading. So what is GIS technology? What is its relevance in relation to the Corona Virus? GIS technology is basically the collection, analyzing, manipulation and representation of spatial and geographic data as deemed relevant according to the set criteria. In our previous segment, we analyzed a couple of software that have been tested and proven time and again to be the best GIS program every GIS analyst should learn. However, amid this pandemic, how do these systems help us and what role are they playing in making sure that the human race overcomes this terror? Well, this is how. Our GIS assignment writers compiled a list of how the world can use GIS technology in Covid-19 surveillance.
As you have already heard in the news, Corona Virus can trace its origin from Wuhan China, and for a minute there the world was not all that concerned with what was happening there until the number of people rose to a couple of hundreds and eventually, the first case of the disease was felt in another country and now this got more real for everyone. During the first run of the virus, there were random speculations as the disease was affecting random people at random places and in no particular order. However with time, after collection and grouping of data, it was now established that people were affected at different rates and thus the disease manifested at different periods. With this data the world was now able to see the region covered and also able to trace how it spread, this then led to the lockdown of cities in China to avoid the spread. Now with this in mind, I am sure you now understand how the vents unfolded.
Helps predict patterns and future outbreaks
As we have heard time and again we can never know where we are going unless we know where we are coming from. GIS technology has offered us that leverage as collected data is now analyzed and well represented and in turn, trends can be predicted. So why is so important to know the trends when it comes to Corona virus? As I had mentioned in the previous segment on, all about Corona virus, The virus is spread very fast by contact with surfaces or with people who have the virus, however, the virus is not air-borne. All it takes for the virus to spread is a simple handshake, a sneeze or even coming to contact with contaminated surfaces.
When the ministry of health or CDC is able to predict the areas that might be affected next, they impose closed quarantine in those areas and also are equipped in the event of an emergency. On top of that, it also helps advice people accordingly.
Real-time tracking of Covid-19 spread
The world health organization is at the front line in helping fight this pandemic and they are doing the best they can in collaboration with both the affected countries and those that are not yet infected. Having in mind that they have this tasks in hand, they have also adopted a GIS system that assists them to get live updates of what is happening in terms of the cases being reported all over the globe. They are able to update their systems every 15 minutes with the latest news in terms of the spread and research on Corona Virus. GIS analysts have come up with a global map that shows the extent to which every country has been affected by the virus. However, the good thing is that they do not reveal the specific identities of the affected individual.
Distribution of economic aid
On a global scale, media houses have shifted their focus from the political arena, celebrity drama and right to the health sector. This has been the trend for all sectors that revolve around us. Social distancing has been stressed upon severally by the CDC, the ministry of health and even the world health organization. This without saying comes with a negative impact in terms of the world economy. This has not gone unnoticed by the World Bank which has in turn offered to work liaison with countries affected by the virus. Given that there is a variation in the geographical and number of victims in each country, they have to refer back to the data analysis presented by GIS analysts to equally give aid to countries. We can be certain that there will be a major backdrop in the standard of living in affected countries but at the same time still thankful that the World Bank has cushioned the landing.
Medical facilities that are involved in the handling of patients and those in charge or research also find GIS technology quite relevant. There is so much that goes on in the medical facilities that people are not aware of but I think this is all for our good. However, given that this is a first time for us to deal with this disease, information such as its origin and all the conditions surrounding the disease, why the infection rate is higher in some regions than others is very vital. So on an internal basis, the medical institutions collect that data and share it to the concerned institutions for further development. On top of that, they also find conventional mapping to be very important and this reduces the response time when a case is found.
The world has come a long way and thanks to the ever-evolving technology, we are at an advantage even in the midst of this calamity. News surrounding Corona Virus reached every corner of the globe in less than an hour and education on its nature, how its spreads and how to protect one’s self is done on all media systems, including mainstream media and social media. This is however not the first time that GIS systems have been used, however, it is the first time that it has been used under the modern world. In the past, people used to wait for manual collection data and represent it on charts and maps, which took longer and the information ran a high risk of inaccuracy between updates. I can therefore not fail to acknowledge the major progress that has been made in this field by the day.