Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve been tracking the spread of COVID-19 in the country with online tools such as the website created by the Department of Health, as well as live global maps from World Health Organisation (WHO) data.

Now researchers at Wits University have created a South African dashboard for COVID-19 that digs deeper into the statistics of this virus that currently has the country in a state of national disaster.

According to researchers the dashboard shows the latest statistics on how the virus is affecting the population of South Africa. It is also updated on a daily basis, using official statistics from both local sources, such as the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) and international ones like the aforementioned WHO.

The statistics on aspects such as the cumulative confirmed cases in South Africa, the daily confirmed cases, relative increases of infections are presented in easy-to-interpret visualisations, and serve to provide additional context as to the effects of this virus.

Other statistics include infections by gender, province, age and transmission routes, which should provide citizens with greater local insight into COVID-19.

“We are experts in analysing and interpreting big data, and we believe that it is important that someone put this data together and present a bigger picture of the impact of the virus on the country,” says Professor Bruce Mellado from the Wits School of Physics, who initiated the project.

“The team working on the project includes computer and data analysts, engineers and physicists,” he adds.

The professor also notes that he is in talks with several government departments to get them to recognise, as well as to add to, the database, in order to make it a powerful tool in the fight against the virus.

“Our team believes in the power of knowledge to solve complex issues, and we hope that our strong ties and cooperation between the scientific community, the executive and the public can help overcome challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic,” he concludes.

With South African organisations and people still in the dark about COVID-19, despite it already reaching 402 cases at the time of writing locally, having an online tool can indeed prove helpful and is well worth checking out.