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Data Reveals the True Impact of the Coronavirus Outbreak

Wired –  In some countries, satellite images, internet speed, and traffic information reveal what governments won’t. “As the coronavirus crisis engulfs the planet, some think that using official data to make sense of the situation only helps so much. Governments might be deliberately obfuscating what is going on in the country—as China did in the early stages of the outbreak; figures on cases and deaths might be fuzzy because of poor collection practices or even regional differences in how the data is gathered, as it is likely the case in Italy; more in general, official figures struggle to capture real-time developments as they happen on the ground…

Scanning cyberspace is not the only way of getting the pulse of the Covid-19 age. Samir Madani is the founder of TankerTrackers, a company that leverages open source information to provide insights on the global crude oil industry to small traders. As the coronavirus pandemic unfolded, he has turned to an eclectic suite of sources to navigate the mayhem. Combining data from vessel transponders with satellite images, he has periodically checked how many oil tankers are in anchorage in China, unable to deliver their cargo—an intimation both of how well China’s ports are functioning amid the pandemic, and of how well industrial production is keeping up…”

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