I am currently inquiring into the COVID Tracking Project for a first-year university course. I would like to give some historical context, i.e. past attempts at pandemic tracking.

Searching the web revealed very little information on this topic, and it is unlikely that a 2003 SARS tracking site (if there was such a thing) would still be available for analysis.

Are current pandemic resources such as the COVID Tracking Project totally unprecedented in terms of completeness and sophistication, or do they stand on the shoulders of earlier undertakings?

  • You could try writing to the creators of the project. They may have done some research before launching.
    – Thomas
    Aug 12, 2020 at 23:01

1 Answer 1


In three recent past outbreaks involving a new virus (or an old virus spreading)—the Ebola outbreaks in West Africa and the Congo, the Zika outbreak in South America, and the 2009 H1N1 (swine flu) influenza pandemic-- the WHO or its subsidiaries (PAHO) have played a prominent role in tracking the outbreak and making regular reports about disease spread available to the public. These have included (variously) cumulative case counts, counts per population, deaths, deaths per population by country. Here is information from the WHO/PAHO about their tracking and communication efforts for these three outbreaks.

Ebola https://www.who.int/csr/disease/ebola/situation-reports/archive/en/

Zika https://www.paho.org/data/index.php/en/?option=com_content&view=article&id=524:zika-weekly-en&Itemid=352

2009 H1N1 (swine flu) https://www.who.int/csr/disease/swineflu/updates/en/

The existence of daily reports for SARS-CoV-2 and the accessibility of information to the public seem unique. The graphical presentation of information about SARS-CoV-2 seems more sophisticated than for the past outbreaks.

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