Facebook map tracks those reporting virus symptoms by county

The interactive map includes data from a survey of more than 1 million Facebook users

Rex Crum
The Mercury News

MENLO PARK, Calif. — Facebook on Monday debuted a new interactive map that tracks coronavirus cases on a county-by-county basis, and which the social network says will be updated daily as part of the effort to help local officials allocate their treatment resources.

The map includes data from a survey of more than 1 million Facebook users conducted by Carnegie Mellon University, and allows users to highlight individual counties to see what percentage of residents have reported coronavirus symptoms. In a Facebook post, Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said that researchers believe symptom survey maps like Facebook's can serve as a tool for determining how best to distribute resources for healthcare professionals and governmental officials in their COVID-19 treatment efforts.

“Understanding how COVID-19 is spreading is critical for local governments and public health officials as they allocate scarce resources like ventilators and PPE (personal protective equipment), and eventually to decide when it is safe to start re-opening different places,” Zuckerberg said.

For example, according to the first data from the map, Santa Clara County showed 0.36% of residents with coronavirus symptoms, Alameda County had 0.54% reporting symptoms, Contra Costa County reporting 0.38% of residents with symptoms and San Mateo County with a 0.33% symptom reporting rate. The map also allows for comparisons with Facebook users who have reported flu-like symptoms during a given period of time.

Zuckerberg said Facebook would be running similar surveys based on data from other countries this week.

Zuckerberg also addressed the matter of privacy of individuals by saying that while Carnegie Mellon researchers will see the data from survey respondents, Facebook will only get data that has been aggregated from the responses.


©2020 the San Jose Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.)


Today we're releasing the first maps of the Covid-19 symptoms people have reported experiencing county-by-county across...

Posted by Mark Zuckerberg on Monday, April 20, 2020


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