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Tag: COVID-19 (page 1 of 2)

Science Café: Modeling the COVID-19 Pandemic in Ohio

Over the last several weeks many mathematicians, statisticians and data scientists have found themselves involved with various efforts in response to the public health crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Did predictive modeling really help with COVID preparedness and decision making? 

Following up on his earlier lectures on the topic over the summer, Dr. Grzegorz Rempala, Ohio State Professor of Public Health and Mathematics, will give a perspective of how various mathematical methods turned out to work (or not) in practical settings of the daily predictions of the pandemic size in Ohio. In particular, he will briefly outline some new ideas and possible improvements in current plans for pandemic effects mitigation.

Who: All Ohio State affiliates and community members
When: Wednesday, October 7 at 6:30 p.m.
Where: Zoom

→ Learn More Here←

If you require an accommodation such as live captioning or interpretation to participate in this event, please contact as soon as possible. Requests made at least one week prior to the event will generally allow us to provide seamless access, but the university will make every effort to meet requests made after this date. A captioned recording of this program will be posted on the University Libraries website within 10 business days following the event.

Your Guide to COVID-19 Data

Earlier in May, my colleague Lee-Arng Chang published an interesting post discussing a number of different COVID-19 data visualizations, which many of us have become increasingly familiar with over the last couple of months. With the number of COVID-19 data visualizations being produced, it should come as no surprise that there has been an equally marked increase in the number of COVID-19 datasets available to university researchers, public health professionals, and administrative officials to support critical work related to overcoming this pandemic and planning for what lies ahead.

Within the University Libraries, a number of my colleagues and I noticed that we were receiving questions from researchers across the university about COVID-19 datasets (primarily geospatial data, in my case) that could support their work, and at the same time, we were frequently learning about new datasets becoming available. We needed a place to gather this information and make it easily accessible to the Ohio State research community and beyond.

The result of this work is the new Data Sources page on the Health Science Library’s COVID-19 LibGuide. This resource provides links to, and short descriptions of, data sources that we’ve encountered that are openly available, on either a permanent or temporary basis. We’ve categorized the data to make browsing easier, with categories including Ohio, Public Health, Geospatial, Business & Socioeconomic, and General & Interdisciplinary, which includes links to a number of scholarly literature datasets available for text mining and other curated lists of data sources known to us. As we become aware of new datasets that could support ongoing work around COVID-19, the guide will be periodically updated.

OGRIP has developed the Ohio COVID-19 GIS Data Portal, a platform for accessing verified and authoritative data, maps and dashboards pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic in Ohio.

Check out OGRIP’s Ohio COVID-19 GIS Data Portal, which provides access to verified and authoritative geospatial data to assist with Ohio’s COVID-19 response and recovery efforts. This is one of the many data sources included in the COVID-19 LibGuide.

But don’t stop at the Data Sources page. The team of Health Sciences librarians has done a great job collecting other relevant information on topics connected to COVID-19, including clinical guidance and articles, basic science articles, telemedicine resources, and available funding opportunities. And if you can’t find what you’re looking for on the guide, don’t hesitate to ask a librarian!

Want to suggest a COVID-19 dataset or other resource to add to the guide? Fill out this short form with your recommendation.

A big “Thank You” to Stephanie Schulte and Anna Biszaha for creating and maintaining the COVID-19 LibGuide, and to Hilary Bussell, Danny Dotson, and Ash Faulkner for recommending additional data sources to include on the guide.

COVID-19 Data Visualizations Keep Us in the Loop

Over the last two months many of us have encountered a variety of COVID-19 maps, charts and other kinds of data visualizations. Hopefully they have been informative and led to a better understanding of the current pandemic. While no one dateset or visualization can truly capture the entire complicated picture of COVID-19, below are a few good examples that offer insight into what is happening in the United States and other countries, as well as what we might expect to see in the future. These visualizations serve to highlight particular trends in the COVID-19 data that we are able to collect, but come with their own caveats. We can make the most accurate and informed observations by understanding the limitations of how data is collected and organized, analyzing the added context of trusted news sources, and analyzing how the visualizations were put together.

1) John Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center Dashboard

Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Center created this world map dashboard that highlights confirmed cases of COVID-19 by country and U.S. state, as well as other key counts such as total death (by country) and people tested (by U.S. state). The other two tabs within the dashboard offer a deeper dive into the U.S. states/counties, and allow users to find answers to questions: “Has the curve flattened?” with supporting evidence and visualizations.

2) Washington Post ‘Corona Simulator’

In March when COVID-19 turned into a pandemic, we started hearing several buzzwords and phrases: “Flattening the curve,” “social distancing,” and “quarantine.” It was difficult for most of us to understand what these words really meant. How do social distancing and quarantine actually help to flatten the curve? The Washington Post’s “Corona Simulator,” and the story behind it, communicated how the implementation of social distancing and quarantine policies would affect a small town of 200 people, using simple visual examples. They also took into account  the the level of policy-compliance.  Visualizations like these help inform and explain to the public how and why certain public health decisions are made.

3) Center for Disease Control COVID Data Tracker

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the U.S. national health protection agency, and a reliable resource for information about COVID-19. In addition to the number of cases, deaths and people tested, this resource shows school closures and other social impacts of the pandemic. It also includes state-by-state status of business openings/closings, healthcare facilities, state of emergency status, lock-down/shelter in place status,  etc. While referring to an individual states’ website for updates is always the best course of action in keeping up to date with how each state is handling COVID-19, this is a good place to compare how all states are handling things.

4) Ohio Department of Health COVID-19 Dashboard

For those interested in COVID-19 as it relates to Ohio, the Ohio Department of Health put together this dashboard using the data visualization software, Tableau,  that shows most of the pertinent measurements by county. The “current trends” tab provides a glimpse at the past five days of cases, deaths and hospitalizations due to the Coronavirus. Other tabs such as “forecast model,” give a sense of the difference between an unmitigated spread of the virus and a mitigated spread, through data modeled by the epidemiologists at Ohio State’s Infectious Disease Institute.

5) New York Times ‘How Coronavirus Hijacks Your Cells’

Another article from March features illustrations explaining how the Coronavirus slips into cells to replicate and spread. Illustrations make it easier to zoom into the microscopic world of viruses and cells, and understand what makes COVID-19 so dangerous. This article offers a more detailed explanation – both visually and in text – to show where possible vaccine solutions may target, as well as how soap effectively destroys the virus.

6) Datawrapper Responsible Live Visualizations

Data is often uncertain, and this is definitely true with COVID-19 as new cases emerge every day. When visualizing these ever-changing live datasets, a great deal of care has to be taken to ensure precise language, design and visuals.  The software Datawrapper confronts this ambiguity and demonstrates how different design choices within a visualization can affect the nuance of the message to the audience.

7) Vox: “How Coronavirus Charts Can Mislead Us”

You may have seen a visualization tracking all the cases of the Coronavirus by country (original from the John Burn-Murdoch at the Financial Times). Vox takes an in-depth look at how small choices in the way data is visualized and designed, can have a huge impact on our understanding of what is going on. Thinking critically about what “confirmed cases” really means (hint: it’s also a reflection of the aggressiveness each country is handling testing) and how a linear vs. a log scale impacts our interpretation, are vital questions to help make more insightful observations and come to better informed decisions.

New CADRE Fellowship Program for Coronavirus Research

The Collaborative Archive & Data Research Environment (CADRE) project has announced a new fellowship program in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The fellowship program, called the Research Cohort for the Study of Coronaviruses (RCSC) will accept researchers who are performing work related to COVID-19 or coronaviruses. There is currently no deadline for proposal submissions, and accepted researchers and research teams can begin their work immediately. See here to submit an RCSC research proposal form.

As an RCSC researcher, you can:

If you have questions about CADRE or the RCSC fellowship program, contact the team at

The Ohio State University Libraries is a partner institution on the CADRE project, which means that all Ohio State researchers can access the platform to work with the Web of Science, Microsoft Academic Graph, and U.S. Patent and Trademark Office datasets. Visit the Getting Started page on the CADRE website to learn more.

To sign in to the CADRE platform using your Ohio State credentials, follow these steps:

  1. Visit the CADRE gateway site, and click “Login.”
  2. Choose the option to “Sign in with your corporate ID” by clicking the “cilogon” button.
  3. Under “Select an Identity Provider,” choose “Ohio State University” in the dropdown menu. Check the box to “Remember this selection” (so you can bypass this step in the future), and click “Log On.”
  4. You will be redirected to the familiar Ohio State single sign-on screen, where you can log in with your name.# and password.
  5. Once logged in, you will land on the CADRE dashboard, with access to the Query Interface and Jupyter Notebook environments.

2 Million In-Copyright Books Opened for The Ohio State University By HathiTrust

HathiTrust has opened emergency temporary access to copyrighted materials in their digital library to member institutions with copies of those items in their physical collections. Books available through HathiTrust which are also in The Ohio State University Libraries collections have been made available online without the additional step of requesting a digital scan. This action from HathiTrust allows digital access to nearly two millions volumes, corresponding to approximately 46% of the printer collection held at Ohio State.

To take advantage of this resource:

  1. Visit and click the yellow “LOG IN” button.
  2. Select “The Ohio State University” and log in using your university credentials.
  3. Use the site to locate the item you wish to view.
  4. Click on the Temporary Access link at the bottom of the record to check out the item through the Emergency Temporary Access Service.

Users will have 60 minutes of access to the book during a session. If you remain active in the book during a session, access time will be extended. Users are not permitted to download a book in any way and may only read materials online in an active session while using HathiTrust in order to protect the author’s rights. More information on accessing the materials is available in their Information for Users and FAQs for students, faculty and staff

The Emergency Temporary Access Service will be available to members of our campus community for as long as University Libraries facilities are closed and circulation of print materials is suspended.

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