The news: Microsoft launched a Bing coronavirus dashboard on Monday, which tracks the number of COVID-19 cases across the world. The team developing the tracker included a Pakistan-origin software development engineer who took to social media to announce the launch. The dashboard shows the total number of cases broken down into active, recovered and fatal categories.
Features: A convenient feature of this dashboard shows a world map, which can be zoomed in and out of, with orange circles on affected areas. On the left, there is a pane that displays an interactive list of countries in descending order of their number of coronavirus cases. The portal lets users click on the name of the country to view localized statistics. It presents a breakdown of the confirmed cases in countries around the world and each state of the United States of America. The dashboard is mobile-friendly, and can also be viewed in the Bing mobile app. Although the tracker doesn’t let users search for a specific country, they can zoom-in on the map and click on a country to view its statistics.
Well-sourced: The Bing COVID-19 dashboard gathers its data from sources like the World Health Organization (WHO), the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), and Wikipedia. In addition to providing up-to-date statistics on the coronavirus pandemic, the dashboard also integrates news reports, videos and maps relevant to each area.
Criticism: While the statistics are updated every hour, the integrated news feature has been criticized for not being up-to-date. If a user clicks on Pakistan, for example, it can show old news stories, reporting less cases in the country. The total confirmed cases in Pakistan have reached 454 as of Friday afternoon.
Saad Khan’s team: A senior software engineer at Microsoft and one of those who worked on the development of this dashboard, Saad Khan, said that his team came together with the “goal of making information available” to their users and created the first version of the dashboard within three days.
Global trackers: Many other organizations and websites have launched COVID-19 trackers as well including WHO and Johns Hopkins University. One of Google’s sister companies, Verily, also partnered with the U.S. government to launch a website that claims to help U.S. citizens get tested for COVID-19.