I have wanted to create real time visualization of infectious disease networks for 10+ years, when I worked on HIV and syphilis networks in North Carolina. It is my pipe dream. I pitched the idea during an idea-a-thon when I worked Research Triangle Institute (RTI) and it made it through the first phase of consideration.
What it does
Health department staff enter contacts into Excel between people who may be COVID+ and uninfected, or both COVID+, or COVID+ and a place (ex bar, Starbucks etc.). The data are sent to me and I upload into R. It has to be simple for the health department. They use Excel for everything.
How I built it
I have made graphs in R with the igraph program for HIV networks that were complete, but not in real time.
Challenges I ran into
We may go live with it soon (within days) in 1-3 health departments. I described everything that I know I can do in theory. Nevertheless, working with an experienced programmer in R (preferably) would help. They have to enter information into a surveillance database to report to cases to CDC. Due to HIPPA, we can't use it.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
My research has been published in top scientific journals and cited. I have gained name recognition. The best day of my career was the day that people interested in my idea.
What I learned
A lot. There are privacy concerns, no one has add the computing capability to put it together and RTI didn't fund phase 2
What's next for Contact Tracing Networks for COVID-19 for health departments
People are dying. We need to perfect it NOW. Please help.