Amid the ongoing COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak, there are many unknowns about the pandemic. Charting the spread of the virus would arguably give governments more time to make decisions to help halt the spread. With that in mind, Microsoft has launched a new interactive Bing Maps tool to track the spread of COVID-19.
On the Bing Maps, users can view various aspects of the outbreak, including cases per country, currently active cases, recovered cases, and fatalities. In the United States, the interactive map offers more granular controls, such as state-by-state information.
Users can do deeper dives into individual countries or states. When a nation is selected, Bing search will surface news stories and videos related to COVID-19 from that country. When I tested the tool, the stories seemed to be lagging behind the very latest news information so I hope Microsoft can resolve that.
Still, the Bing Maps interactive map is undoubtedly a valuable tool during this uncertain time. According to Microsoft, it compiles the map from data collected from the World Health Organization (WHO), the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), and Wikipedia.
While there is no information regarding how quickly the app is updated, I found it to be accurate to the latest hour.
Fighting the Outbreak
It is worth noting other tech companies are planning similar tools during the COVID-19 outbreak. For example, Google says it will launch a website “late Monday” that will focus on the pandemic. The company says the resource will host information about coronavirus and tap into Google Maps and YouTube.
Last week, Microsoft said it would pay working parents who are forced to work from home when schools are suspended.
Employees at the company have already been told to work from home and Microsoft will be paying hourly workers who can’t their normal wage. At least two at the company have tested positive for COVID-19, and it has also canceled its in-person Build 2020 event, which takes place in the region.