Free Illustrations of COVID-19

Design firm Covert has released a set of illustrations of the COVID-19 virus that are license and royalty free.

Just note the caveat on their website that,

We’re not scientists. Although we’ve tried to model Covid-19 as closely as possible using available references, these free assets should be used for illustrative purposes only.

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Our World In Data Drops World Health Organization COVID-19 Data Because of Inaccuracies

Interesting post by Hannah Ritchie at Our World In Data about why the site decided to stop using World Health Organization data on the COVID-19 pandemic in favor of data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

Unfortunately, in the publication of WHO data on 18th March – Situation Report 58 – they shifted the reporting cutoff time from 0900 CET to 0000 CET. This means that comparability is compromised because there is an overlap between the last two WHO data publications (Situation Reports 57 and 58).

. . .

In published WHO Situation Reports were several inconsistencies in the number of total confirmed cases, and new confirmed cases that we noticed between the WHO Situation Reports and the WHO Dashboard, which also presents these statistics. These discrepancies are detailed below.

We have informed the WHO about these inconsistencies and are working closely with the World Health Organization (WHO) in an effort to resolve these issues. We continue to be in close contact with the WHO data team to ensure the latest statistics are presented accurately.

The inconsistencies are small and do not affect the overall perspective on the development of COVID-19 in a major way, but errors were too frequent and this was the second reason why we stopped to rely on the WHO data.

The Pandemic License

The Pandemic License is a temporary license designed to allow educators to “read an author’s works via video and audio over the internet while students are learning from home during the COVID-19 crisis.”

The rights to do this do not last forever – this is something that teachers can do for as long as the COVID-19 pandemic is happening.

Well, I guess a temporary license from major corporations to . . . check’s notes read aloud is better than no permission to read aloud . . .

If you think The Pandemic License is a great idea, you might also be interested in The Pirate Bay License.

Privacy-Preserve Contact Tracing?

Contact tracing is a method of stopping the spread of diseases by quickly finding and treating people who have come into contact with an infected person. According to the World Health Organization,

This monitoring process is called contact tracing, which can be broken down into 3 basic steps:

1. Contact identification: Once someone is confirmed as infected with a virus, contacts are identified by asking about the person’s activities and the activities and roles of the people around them since onset of illness. Contacts can be anyone who has been in contact with an infected person: family members, work colleagues, friends, or health care providers.

2. Contact listing: All persons considered to have contact with the infected person should be listed as contacts. Efforts should be made to identify every listed contact and to inform them of their contact status, what it means, the actions that will follow, and the importance of receiving early care if they develop symptoms. Contacts should also be provided with information about prevention of the disease. In some cases, quarantine or isolation is required for high risk contacts, either at home, or in hospital.

3. Contact follow-up: Regular follow-up should be conducted with all contacts to monitor for symptoms and test for signs of infection.

The Zcash Foundation is looking to develop a decentralized, privacy-preserving contact tracing tool that would springboard off of the Singapore government’s TraceTogether application.

One incredibly exciting technological development is TraceTogether, a mobile application that assists with contact tracing produced by the Government of Singapore and the Singapore Ministry of Health (MoH). The app creates a temporary ID by encrypting a user ID to a MoH-owned public key, and then broadcasts the temporary ID over Bluetooth. This temporary ID is refreshed at regular intervals, so that it cannot be used as a long-term identifier for third-party tracking. Nearby mobile devices running the app log all observed broadcasts. If a user later develops symptoms and tests positive for COVID-19, they can upload their log of contacts to the MoH, who functions as a trusted third party that can decrypt the log entries and notify all of that user’s contacts of potential COVID-19 exposure. The MoH promises to use the log data only for the purposes of contact notification.

While this application is not perfectly privacy-preserving, it is far superior to location-tracking, and reveals personal information only upon infection, rather than using the threat of COVID-19 as a justification to build permanent surveillance infrastructure, or exposing patient data to the public. Public health requires public trust, and the developers should be congratulated for building privacy protections into the system.