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 epidemic 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?

P.S. I am also interested in pre-Internet epidemic tracking. After all, some of the most interesting plagues occurred many centuries ago.

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    For what it is worth, I believe the 2003 SARS tracking data should still be available from the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network, although a login may be required. Commented Aug 10, 2020 at 4:11
  • @sempaiscuba If you can find a link, I would be very grateful. I found only a couple old pages with no real data, they just discuss what WHO was doing in 2003. Commented Aug 10, 2020 at 4:17
  • I don't have a link. The fact that the data was available to anyone with a login was mentioned in an online course on emergent and re-emergent diseases that I completed earlier this year. Since I don't have a login to GOARN, I just made a note of the fact but didn't follow it up. Maybe your university has the facility to login to GOARN to access the data? Commented Aug 10, 2020 at 4:27
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    For plagues which 'occurred many centuries ago', you might find Were there any travel restrictions during the Black Death pandemic? useful (or at least some of the sources in the answers may be of use). Commented Aug 10, 2020 at 4:37
  • Tracking the number of cases like those websites is, functionally, nothing new and definitely not unprecendented, although corona's the first real, major, global pandemic in a long, long while, so the effect and attention on such statistic feels unprecedented. I actually thought you'd be asking about contact tracing, in which digital/mobile phone tracking is playing a big part for the corona pandemic.
    – Semaphore
    Commented Aug 10, 2020 at 21:20


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