Forocoches is the largest online community in Spain (more than 800,000 registered users) if we leave aside large US social networks. Generally, the forum is not exactly known for positive facts, but for the opposite. Without going to extremes like the linked case of La Manada, Forocoches has a lot of healthy trolling and taking it all very little seriously.
However, those of us who have been in the forum since practically since its inception, we also know that, as in other large communities such as Reddit, There is an extensive group of users who, at certain points, get serious and generate a stream that tries to be as informative as possible. The coronavirus is one of those cases, as we will see below.
Before continuing, it must be made very clear that about the coronavirus it is best and recommended to always inquire with official sources directly, that is, the Ministry of Health, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control.
In Forocoches, a graphic panel of cases has been born in real time that allows you to visualize better than the Government websites
Entering Forocoches, we can see a banner that they have put up from the web that reads “🏡 💆🏻♂🐣 This weekend # QuédateEnCasa 🏡 💆🏻♂🐣”, and links to the campaign in which health workers are recommending not to go out on the street to prevent the virus from spreading further. If we enter the section ‘general‘of Forocoches, the best known area of the forum, and to which we usually refer when we talk about Forocoches, we find open threads that treat the coronavirus with little or no seriousness. It is something normal in the community, on YouTube, Twitter or Facebook, and it is still a reflection of how society is taking the pandemic.
However, there is a ‘follow-up thread’ that has 16 volumes where its members try to ensure that, at least, the information that is provided and publicized is away from rumors and hoaxes. For it, continuously link to official information on the virus, answer questions citing the WHO, or provide links to scientific articles. They also have a list of telephone numbers for consultation in cases of infection, as we know that each autonomous community has its own.
Something interesting that we can find in Forocoches and not in an official government website like this one, are graphs and explanatory tables with a count of the number of infections, deaths, people recovered, mortality rate with the data that are given, etc. In the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control they do have a visual panel of cases worldwide, but in the absence of something like this in Spain, the forero VFoxtTroT has created a data visualization panel with the open Grafana platform.
In it we see cases diagnosed by province, deaths by province, as well as graphs with the diagnosis curve in Spain or the map of diagnosed by province, where for example we can see the seriousness of the number of cases in the Community of Madrid. Going to more specific data, we can see that at this time there are 2,950 people diagnosed, 84 people dead (a figure announced by the Ministry at 2:00 pm), 189 people recovered.
If we are interested in the percentage of the population diagnosed in Spain, we can see that we are talking about 0.006285%. But always, as in the mortality rate, we have to remember that the calculation is made on the cases that are known, which are not all, as there may be many people who have not been diagnosed but carry the virus.
Since Genbeta we were able to talk to VFoxtTroT, and he has told us some details of how the project came about:
“I know the Grafana application relatively well and I knew of its potential for this type of thing, as it is something that had been done in other countries, I thought that something similar could be good too. In the end, knowledge of data is power, and I think that following these analytics or any of the ones that exist can help to face this unfortunate situation. Initially I created it for the Forocoches.com platform and keep us informed of the situation, but in recent days it has crossed borders in social networks and In just over 1 and a half days, more than 40 thousand people have passed through the panel“.
The forero tells us that the data he has has not increased, but less, with which he has had to eliminate metrics such as the average age of the people who die: “At the beginning there were more concrete data. In fact, it had a metric that displayed information related to age. Now this metric is no longer available since this data is not being provided, and I was applying an algorithm to calculate the mean based on what I did know, the problem is that it was deviating more and more and I ended up removing it.
The data that it continues to collect are those of the Ministry of Health, which publish at certain times in PDF: “Every day, from the health alerts and emergencies coordination center, a PDF with this series of data is uploaded to the ministry’s website, relating to Europe and the world and accessible to everyone. “
To complete the table with more agility and accuracy, VFoxtTroT misses data related to age, and for this it points to the autonomies, as they have the powers transferred: “In the case of Catalonia, for example, for days it has been impossible to find data related to the provinces. Undoubtedly a public API with all these data would be ideal, it would be easier for everyone than I would like to deal with them. ” It must be remembered that, for example, in the case of Italy, there is a GitHub where all the data is officially posted to process it comfortably.
On the use of Grafana, this shur, has told us that he knows its potential “because in his day-to-day work with this tool. It is one of the best tools, in my point of view, for time-based data monitoring and analytics. Perhaps the only weak point is that To properly exploit the data, programs are required that can process that data and serve it to Grafana already “chewed.” Otherwise, one of the best tools in its field today and also open source. “
The message remains clear, the information on the coronavirus is best always obtained from official sources, but it continues to draw our attention that, within the noise that will always be in Forocoches with any matter, a group of foreros get down to work and selflessly to try to find truthful sources and collect so that others can access it.