An American teenager is at the helm of a website currently being accessed by millions of people across the world. It is updated every minute on the deadly COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic as it spreads.
Since it launched in late December, the website, ncov2019.live, has been visited by more than 12 million people.
Avi Schiffmann, a 17-year-old tech-savvy Seattle area resident, uses reliable data from around the world to include on his website. The website displays the latest, real-time statistics on the number of confirmed cases, serious cases, deaths, and recovered, including statistics both worldwide and in each country.
The website also serves as host to an interactive Google map, Twitter feed, preventative measures to stop the spread of the virus, information about the virus, travel tips, and preparation for quarantine.
Schiffmann told the Times of Israel in an interview.:
I started working on this project at Christmastime when there were fewer than 1,000 confirmed cases, all in mainland China. It was hard to get clear, concise, and accurate information on what was going on, and I wanted to do something to fix this.
“It would also be a way to help with global health, which is something that’s needed when not all governments are the nicest or transparent, and it is hard to get information,” Schiffmann added.
According to the Times of Israel, “Schiffmann’s website scrapes information from many different sources, including official government health organizations (local, national, and international), and trustworthy news outlets.”
Schiffmann further explained the “scraper,” and said, “It’s all automated, so I don’t have to input anything manually. The web scraper runs even when I’m sleeping.”
Schiffmann also said he is receiving a large response from those using the site and has been contacted by media outlets.
“I am getting 1,000 messages a day. Some are from people thanking me for the site, some are from media outlets reaching out for interviews, and many are from PhDs who have suggestions for information I could add,” Schiffmann said.
The Times of Israel also noted that Schiffmann “plans to take a year or two off after high school to travel the world to participate in hackathons, hopes to become a serial entrepreneur. He said he isn’t in it for the money, but rather to be creative and make an impact.”
“I want to have the skills to make the next big thing, to change the world. I’m not interested in imitating anyone else. I want to be the next Avi Schiffmann,” he said.