CoEpi: Community Epidemiology In Action

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A COVID pandemic

As individual COVID-19 outbreaks grow and merge into a global pandemic, and responses transition from containment to mitigation, the question arises: “What can we do?” As public health authorities scramble to trace contacts, ensure health systems are prepared, and even begin to implement wider social distancing measures as outbreaks spread, the advice to individuals remains simple: scrub down your hands with soap after touching surfaces, stay home from work or school if sick, etc. This is good advice, but leaves open the question of when it’s appropriate to take more disruptive action to reduce transmission risk.

What can you do?

COVID-19 is here, in our communities, and people are dying. You, yes everyone, can start taking action today to slow the spread of #coronavirus. This isn’t normally true, but in this crisis you, personally, can save at least one life by putting #CoEpi, Community Epidemiology, into Action, and talking to everyone to know about your own symptoms, asking about theirs, and being extra vigilant when you’re symptomatic or exposed, to prevent the transmission of contagious illnesses, break the chains of COVID-19 coronavirus transmission, and ultimately save the life of a parent, grandparent, or vulnerable relative of someone in your community. Here’s how to start.

What can we do together?

The CoEpi project attempts to bridge the gap between governmental public health actions and individual attention to hygiene. We believe it is possible to combine modern smartphone technology and cloud computing to empower individuals and their personal networks to automatically and anonymously track their own contacts, and inform themselves and their friends and family about increased infection risks. This will allow individuals to make informed risk-based decisions about when it’s most important to implement additional social distancing measures above and beyond the measures being recommended community-wide. It will also enable communities with active community transmission to track and quarantine chains of infection remotely and at scale. Other communities will achieve earlier, and more complete detection when COVID arrives. Through digital interaction, personal contact and risks are decreased, and frontline medical resources are reserved for individuals that truly require emergency medical care.

Read more about the vision and design of CoEpi here.

The CoEpi team

The CoEpi team currently consists of a small group of individuals with diverse and relevant skills who feel the need to put those skills to use in service of our own loved ones, our broader social networks, our communities, and humanity. We are committed to working openly and transparently, publishing all of our work completely open-source for anyone to use in any way they can, to make sure we are all doing everything we can to minimize the death and disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

We need your help

We are already starting on building the CoEpi app (as described here). We have a very solid initial design, and initial prototypes being developed. But we can’t move fast enough on our own. If you’re someone with skills and time you could use to help, please get in touch with us immediately: every day it takes us to ramp up development is another day that people are dying. If you don’t have the ability to help out directly, please share this with anyone you know who might be able to, or who might know others who could help. If you have connections at a company who might be able to commit people to helping on this open source project, either by working with us or doing something similar internally, please reach out to them and let them know how urgent it is and how much of a difference they could make.

Currently, we are seeking:

If you’re someone who would like to test the early version of the #CoEpi app (or if you have other skills to volunteer), fill out this form.

How can you help with CoEpi?

We need lots of help to get this project going quickly - we especially need people right now with native mobile app development experience (either iOS or Android), and also folks experienced with building scalable cloud applications with backend data stores and flexible container-based front ends, to help get #CoEpi off the ground as fast as possible. You can see our active repositories here.

If you’re interested in diving in on this project, and have any idea of how you could help, please reach out to Dana and Scott, and we can get you connected to the group. If you’re someone who would like to test the early version of the #CoEpi app (or if you have other skills to volunteer), fill out this form.

And finally, as noted above, if you don’t have the ability to help out directly, please share this with anyone you know who might be able to, or who might know others who could help. If you have connections at an organization who might be able to commit people to helping on this, either by working with us or doing something similar internally, please reach out to them and let them know how urgent it is and how much of a difference they could make.