By Stacey Leasca
January 29, 2020

The coronavirus, which causes flu-like symptoms as well as pneumonia, is spreading fast. So fast, in fact, that scientists at Johns Hopkins University felt that it was important to track just where the virus exists with a real-time map that’s now available to the public.

"We built this dashboard because we think it is important for the public to have an understanding of the outbreak situation as it unfolds with transparent data sources," Lauren Gardner, a civil engineering professor and co-director for Center for Systems Science and Engineering, said of the map in a statement. "For the research community, this data will become more valuable as we continue to collect it over time."

Screenshot via Coronavirus 2019 nCoV John Hopkins CSSE

According to the university, the statistics used in the map are collected from several organizations, including the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Health Commission of the People's Republic of China, and Dingxiangyuan, a social networking site for health care professionals. All of these resources, Gardner said, "can provide more timely assessments of the outbreak, compared to the national level reporting organizations, which take longer to filter up."

Sergei Savostyanov/TASS

Gardner and the team also made a link available on the website where interested parties can download a Google Sheet containing all the confirmed and suspected cases of the coronavirus, which now appears in more than 30 Chinese locations and multiple nations, including the United States, Mexico, Colombia, Japan, Thailand, South Korea, Vietnam, Singapore, Brazil, and Australia.

As of Wednesday morning, the map showed a total of 6,057 confirmed cases around the world, with 5,970 of those in mainland China. It noted that the virus has caused 132 deaths, but also that 110 people have reportedly recovered as well.

Although the map certainly puts the number of confirmed cases around the world into perspective (for reference, the CDC estimates that 15 million people have already suffered from the flu this year, which caused some 8,200 deaths), it appears that governments and travel companies are taking little chances.

Earlier this week, the CDC and State Department issued a level three travel warning, which urges folks to reconsider any travel to China. Both organizations have also issued level four warnings for parts of China.

Several cruise lines have also canceled sailings to China and airlines are slowly canceling flights to the mainland. If your travel plans include China in the near future, it may be prudent to contact your airline, cruise line, or hotel, and speak to your medical provider about the risks involved in your trip. If you must travel, make sure to take precautions, including washing your hands frequently, investing in a mask, and getting the generic flu shot before you go.

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