NEWS1 July 2020

Oxford University launches Covid-19 hotspot dashboard

Covid-19 Data analytics News UK

UK – The University of Oxford has created an online tool to help identify potential Covid-19 hotspots.

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The tool, which was developed by the university’s Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science, will supplement test and trace technology and uses demographic data to identify which regions and local areas could disproportionally suffer from infections of Covid-19.

The researchers have produced online maps to identify the most at risk areas in England and Wales, which can be viewed at levels of administrative region, ceremonial county, clinical commissioning group and lower layer super output area.

The data includes age, social deprivation, population density, ethnicity and hospital resources, and the dashboard for the online tool can identify places at a neighbourhood level that are susceptible.

The tool highlights areas such as the Isle of Wight and Lincolnshire have some of the highest risk factors due to having older populations and higher levels of social deprivation.

It also identified Harrow, London, as an area with an exceptionally high age-related risk of hospitalisations due to Covid-19. The Northwick Park Hospital in Harrow was the first in the UK to call for a national emergency due to a lack of capacity early in the pandemic.

Professor Melinda Mills, director of the Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science, said: “With additional outbreaks and second waves, thinking not only regionally, but at much smaller scale at the neighbourhood level, will be the most effective approach to stifle and contain outbreaks, particularly when a lack of track and trace is in place.”