it appears that Microsoft’s COVID-19 tracker has difficulties surfacing related news articles
Microsoft’s Bing has introduced a new interactive map to provide updates on the spread of the novel coronavirus disease COVID-19. The map shows the total number of cases per country, broken down by the number of cases currently active, the cases recovered and the fatal cases in the US. Meanwhile, you can also monitor State-by-State statistics. This will include links to related news reports and videos by selecting individual countries or states. However, the published reports are not necessarily the most timely or useful for understanding the emerging pandemic’s current condition.
Microsoft claims the tool is getting data from several sources, including the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and Wikipedia. The tool itself does not shows how often the figures are being changed, but we consider the data to have been modified within the last hour at the time of publication.
Although the number of cases that tool provides is compatible with those reported by the WHO, it appears that Microsoft’s COVID-19 tracker has difficulties surfacing related news articles. For example, when we tried to check news stories related to the outbreak in the U.K., one of the reports that emerged was about a series of home appliances stores closing in Spain and France. Even more interestingly, the cover video, despite the tracker reporting 1,391 cases in the country, was an old news segment from January 24th with the title “No confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) yet in the United Kingdom.”
Meanwhile, the most recent article on the Dutch map in the Netherlands is two weeks old, given the fact that the government took the big decision to close public places like schools and restaurants just yesterday.
Microsoft is not the only technology company trying to provide updates about the COVID-19. Google has said it will launch a website with outbreak information soon, including how to stop it from spreading, and links to local resources. It also provides on its homepage, and through YouTube and Maps, information about the novel coronavirus. The company is also offering a limited coronavirus screening program, which is only open to people in California’s Bay Area, in comparison to the national service proposed by the U.S. government on Friday to expand on.