Student creates a Scottish Covid-19 tracker

An Argyll College UHI student, John Frace, has developed a popular COVID-19 website which he updates daily.

The website pays particular attention to regional Scottish statistics which is what differentiates it from other trackers.

The site has already had more than 400,000 views. 

Explaining what inspired him to develop the site, John says, ‘’When the virus started to spread outside of China and become a big deal in Europe, I was following it pretty closely. It was interesting to watch the maps and charts, and see how the situation was evolving. When we got our first few cases, and the Scottish government started breaking down the numbers by region, I decided to keep track of it in a spreadsheet.’’

‘’I was sharing pictures of the spreadsheet online, and someone suggested that I host the image on an updatable webpage, so that they could bookmark the link and visit it each day, seeing updated numbers. That gave me the idea to create the website.’’

‘’I knew there were websites to track the worldwide cases, and there would probably be websites to track UK wide cases, but I wasn’t so sure if there would be a website to track Scotland’s cases. So, I decided to make the website, as I think it’s important to know what the situation in Scotland is.’’

‘’Even more so, I think it’s important to know what the situation is in your local area. At first, the virus was just something that was happening in China, and then it was something in England, and then it was just something up in Glasgow. You never really think that your small hometown will be affected by these kind of things.’’

‘’But then when I heard a rumour that there had been a death in Dunoon from the virus, the reality really struck. The virus is here, and it is killing people. I knew that I had to take this seriously and stop going out for anything other than essential reasons. Maybe it sounds a bit over dramatic, but in my head, I was thinking that going to Morrisons was literally risking my life.’’

‘’I hope that the regional breakdown on my website can have the same impact on others, and hopefully convince them to stay indoors and take this seriously.’’ 

John uses official data and the Scottish statistics come from two main sources: daily updates which come from Health Protection Scotland; and the weekly National Records of Scotland report.  His site does a great job of transforming statistical data into a visually arresting and easily digestible format.

John says, ‘’I think sometimes these sort of statistics are presented in a way which makes them quite hard to understand for a large part of the population. I’m just trying to keep things simple and easy to take in.’’

John is based in Dunoon, and currently studying for a Business and Management BA (Hons). Last year he completed HNC in Digital Design & Web Development, and an HND in Admin & IT back in 2016, also with Argyll College UHI.