COVID-19 dashboard shows SA outbreak data

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Males in Gauteng aged between 31 and 40 are South Africa’s most affected COVID-19 demographic.

This is according to the Media Hack Collective, a media house that specialises in data journalism. Managing partner Alastair Otter told ITWeb this week that the need to keep the public reliably informed about the pandemic drove him and his partners to create a dashboard tracking the country’s Coronavirus infections.

The dashboard also shows the infection rate per province and by age.

”We weren’t trying to make anything too fancy, just a reliable platform to keep people updated about cases that have been reported in the country and, more interestingly, the ages and locations of these cases.”

As of Wednesday, the country has 116 confirmed infections. 

The data shows that most of the infected South Africans were travelling abroad when they contracted the virus. Nineteen had travelled through the United Kingdom, 13 had been in the United States, 10 were in Switzerland, nine were in Austria, eight in Germany, and seven had been in France. Six infected South Africans had visited Dubai, four had visited the Netherlands, and two each had visited Spain and Turkey. Single infections resulted in people travelling in Brazil, Canada, Ethiopia, Greece, India, Iran, Portugal and Mexico, said the dashboard. There are more countries, than cases, said Otter, because many reported travelling through more than one country.

“We include all the countries they travelled through because they are all possible points of infection,” said Otter.

“Coronavirus is the biggest issue in the country right now and there’s a lot of speculation around it, so we’ve made sure that we work with verified sources to minimise that speculation,” he said.

The dashboard is updated as soon as the Department of Health, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) and health journalism organisation Bhekisisa release new numbers.

Otter thinks the Health Department and the NICD are doing a ‘really good’ job of keeping the public informed.

“Not rushing to get information out there is a good sign and the portals dedicated to informing the public during this outbreak are doing well,’ he said.

The health department has also launched a WhatsApp group, which can be accessed by typing "hi" to 0600 123 456 to receive news, prevention tips and steps to take before testing.

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