A Phone App to Identify New Coronavirus Hotspots in an Area

After the end of the lockdown, several countries around the world are seeing coronavirus outbreaks once again. As people have returned to work or school, many are no longer following preventive guidelines, leading to a change in patterns of the overall pandemics including the creation of new coronavirus hotspots.

According to the medical community, the increase in cases does not come as a surprise. Most health experts predicted the surges in infection as people spend more time outdoors and interact with one another.

However, there have been a number of other changes that have been recently noticed including the high number of younger people contracting the virus. Statistically, nearly all of the new cases of coronavirus infection are in people under the age of thirty-five.

Previously, older adults and those with underlying conditions were more likely to be infected and hospitalized for coronavirus infection. Now, people from older age groups are comparatively safer.

According to experts, this may be due to the reopening of businesses, schools, offices, and related activities. In comparison with young adults, older adults are more likely to participate in social activities and avoid going out in general due to the threat of coronavirus.

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On the other hand, the end of lockdown restrictions has encouraged younger people to resume their everyday activities including sports, going out for drinks, and others.

Hence, they are highly likely to be infected. In addition, this also highlights that younger people are now spreading the virus more than older adults now.

The rise of new coronavirus cases in younger age groups can be much more dangerous than before. This is because young adults engage in activities and interact with more people on average.

So, one infected young adult can transmit the virus to several others while going out with friends or attending a class. In addition to spreading the infection to an increased number of people, the trend could also create new coronavirus hotspots.

Previously, some of the common coronavirus hotspots in the majorly affected countries include old age and nursing homes and places of worship. Now, the places may be different.

To keep up with the changes in the coronavirus pandemic, a new app developed by the  Oxford University’s Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science can help. With the use of this online tool, experts can identify new coronavirus hotspots.

The director of the Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science, Melinda Mills, the tool can be useful in a number of ways and help policymakers in devising new plans for areas that are likely to be new coronavirus hotspots.

The tool makes predictions of hotspots of coronavirus by examining data on populations of specific areas, availability of coronavirus resources and hospital facilities, mobility of people, and the high-risk groups in the particular region.

Mills explains that the use of the tool will not only help in the prediction of new coronavirus hotspots regionally but also at smaller levels. This way, even the smallest outbreaks can be contained before they spread to an entire region, hence making it an effective coronavirus control strategy.

As the tool has shown to be effective in tests conducted by researchers, it is expected to be used in future planning for coronavirus outbreaks.

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