BCIT grad makes his own site to track COVID-19
Curtis Kim wants to make information about the ongoing coronavirus outbreak accessible to the masses
When the coronavirus outbreak started making global headlines, Curtis Kim's eyeballs were glued to his computer screen, constantly scanning for the newest information.
That's when he realised that a lot of the data published online by journals and major news organizations wasn't up to speed.
"I kept Googling and searching the numbers, and I felt like, this isn't only me who cares about the virus and wants to see the most up-to-date information," he told CBC News. "I thought it would be great if there was one platform that has all the data."
So, he decided to do something about it. Kim, a recent graduate from BCIT's computer systems technology program, put his newly acquired skills in data programming to the test. He developed his own COVID-19 tracker based off data from a multitude of verified sources.
The site has already drawn thousands of visitors since he launched it just days ago.
Kim's application draws from a pool of available data, including information provided by Canada's federal government, the World Health Organization, and Johns Hopkins University.
The information is displayed in a series of tables and interactive maps. The information is updated multiple times daily.
At any given moment, the website attracts hundreds of unique visitors from both Metro Vancouver and the Greater Toronto Area.
"I just want people to keep informed about this ... know what's happening in their neighbourhood, their local area," he said. "[Users] can be prepared if something happens."
Close to home
Kim is originally from South Korea, a country that is now second to China in terms of overall coronavirus infections. As of Sunday, there were more than 7,000 cases and 50 deaths there.
Kim, 29, moved to Canada in 2017, but he says watching the virus outbreak in his home country has been a challenge.
He's been keeping in touch with his close friends who still live there. He keeps learning about their struggles to secure face masks, and their growing unease over the extent of the virus.
He hopes the information he shares through his platform — which also includes the latest information in terms of reporting symptoms, World Health Organization advisories, and government responses — can help people make informed decisions.
"It's very serious right now [in South Korea] compared to other countries, "I've learned a lot from this application and this project."