Digital environmental tools can help track and predict effects of COVID-19

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Reviewed by Emily Henderson, B.Sc.Oct 15 2020
A digital sprint, featuring a series of hackathons, led by Cranfield University and the Natural Environment Research Council has seen multiple projects awarded prizes for innovation and use of digital technology.

Scientists from across the world participated in teams during three successive hackathons to develop digital environmental tools that can help track, understand and predict the effects of COVID-19 and help lead to a greener post-pandemic future.

Prizes were awarded in four categories: Air Quality, Recovery, Ecosystem Services and Visualising Risk. It is hoped that the winning projects can be developed into tools to help both policy makers and the wider public better understand the impact of Covid-19 and mitigate its threat.

It is hoped that the success of the digital sprint will pave the way for more rapid response research funding calls in the future.

The winning projects include:

Air Quality – A digital model was produced that analysed the impact of air quality and social factors, both in Italy and the US, on Covid-19 infection rates. Their model demonstrated that if the Air Quality Index could be reduced by 2%, in the long-term, then infection rates would decrease by between 4-5%.

Recovery …

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