How Big Data has been aiding Taiwan and the United States in identifying, countaining and allocating resources has been a lifesaver to thousands. COVID-19 began spreading while thousands of people were taking holiday vacations due to the Lunar New Year.


But Taiwan acted swiftly, by setting up a disaster plan led by the National Health Command Center (NHCC)– a disaster management center, created after the SARS outbreak of 2004. Making use of databases was the fastest and most effective resource they could leverage, which could act as fast as the spreading of the virus. The government’s approach included case identification, containment and resource allocation in order to protect its citizens from the threat, setting these up as their most valuable KPIs.


By making use of the national insurance database and its immigration and customs database, the NHCC began the creation of a Big Data project, which would serve as an analytical resource. With a brand new QR technology code, the command center scans and tracks travelers, which in effect reports health symptoms, origin and travel history in real-time. People who presents no symptoms, or who did not travel to level 3 stage areas, receive a notification on their phone via SMS with a fast-pass for the customs line at the airport. In effect, people who presents high-risk, are sent to be quarantined at home and tracked through their mobile phones to ensure they remain at home during this period.


Because communication and collaboration is paramount within all institutions across the country, the NHCC unified a central command involving the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), the Biological Pathogen Disaster Command Center, the Counter-Bioterrorism Command Center and the Central Medical Emergency Operations Center to ensure proper communication and data collection.


For the past month and a half, the CECC has taken more than 124 actions towards managing the crisis thanks to a Big Data project. Some of these include border control, identification, quarantine, and resource allocation.


On the opposite hemisphere, the president of the United States, Donald Trump, has taken a swift move towards incrementing the identification of cases in a fast manner. The government is working now hand in hand with private sector companies like Labcorp, Rouche and Google to implement an online testing initiative which begins by filling out an online form, which then asks a number of questions in order to rule out possible symptoms. If symptoms are present, a geolocation feature will direct the patient to a drive-thru location where they can pick up a testing kit, make use of it at home and then drop off at an instructed location. In consequence, tracking information will most likely be used to track the person’s whereabouts, possible contact with other individuals to contain the disease across the country.


Taiwan took 72 hours to develop new technologies, and the United States 24 hours, allowing these two governments to act fast and swiftly by leveraging data and collaboration. In Taiwan a survey done randomly across several cities within the region ranked the president and the health department with more than a 70% thanks to their proactive approach towards the treatment of this disease.

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