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Meet the Woman Behind the World’s Most Famous Coronavirus Tracker

US News: Her dashboard lets people track the spread in near real-time. She had no idea it would get this big. “The woman behind what may be the world’s most famous coronavirus tracker isn’t a medical professional – she’s a civil engineer. Since launching in late January, Johns Hopkins University’s COVID-19 dashboard – a black and gray map pierced by red dots marking COVID-19 cases, deaths and recoveries in 188 countries and regions – has become central to efforts to fight the pandemic in the U.S. Public health authorities, researchers and policymakers up to the White House have cited the map; and it’s become a go-to resource for journalists and the general public, with some 640 million page views to date. Lauren Gardner, an associate professor of civil and systems engineering at Hopkins and the map’s creator, says she didn’t expect how uniquely authoritative the tracker, built in one day, would become. But it took off immediately, allowing people to follow the pandemic in near-real time, as it lept from China around the globe. There have been more than 9 million COVID-19 cases and 469,000 deaths worldwide to date…Gardner says she thinks her map, devoid of any spin or analysis, has provided a simple way for everyday people to track the pandemic through “authentic, transparent sources.” Its popularity, she says, proves there’s an appetite for data on demand – which could be critical when fighting other global health threats…”

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