KUALA LUMPUR, May 20 -- National Tsing Hua University (NTHU) has recently begun to collaborate with Facebook and Harvard University in using big data to study the potential spread of coronavirus in Taiwan.
This international collaboration is led by Assistant Professor Hsiao-Han Chang of the Institute of Bioinformatics and Structural Biology at NTHU, according to a statement.
The preliminary results indicate that the risk of local transmission is higher than long-distance transmission between counties and cities. Chang’s advice for the upcoming holiday is to stay at home and avoid crowds.
Based on the results of another study she recently conducted using mathematical modelling to assess the impact of wearing face masks, Chang strongly supports the Central Epidemic Command Center’s (CECC) decision to set up a system for distributing masks as it prevents the hoarding of an item important for limiting the spread of the epidemic.
At January-end, Facebook began providing movement data for a joint study by NTHU and Harvard University's School of Public Health on the spread of the coronavirus. The data includes estimates of the number of people moving among cities.
Chang's research team also found that local movement plays a more important role in the potential spread of the coronavirus than long-distance movement. This runs counter to the widespread perception that distance travelled is the most important risk factor.
In addition, a study by Chang and Colin Worby, a computational biologist at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, shows that the proper use of masks by the majority of people reduces both the numbers of infections and deaths significantly.
Malaysia National News Agency
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