UNC researchers launch website aimed at providing snapshot of life during pandemic

Coronavirus

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) – Nine months in and it’s clear the pandemic has impacted everyone in different ways.

That’s why a team of researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill developed a snapshot of life during the pandemic.

Wednesday, they launched the website: Carolina Tracker.

“We wanted to make this work for different people. We also wanted to provide a resource for state officials to look across the entire state of North Carolina and quickly get a view. So, it’s easy to see is it something different in a place. Maybe it’s better. Maybe it’s worse,” explained Noreen McDonald, Chair of the Department of City and Regional Planning at UNC.

McDonald said the idea for the website started in the summer. It’s a collection of data from different government agencies and companies.

“I think there are local agencies like housing agencies or other social network providers that can look if they are located in a specific county say, ‘OK, what are the big problems here?” mentioned Kaitlin Heatwole, a research specialist with the team.

The database breaks down numbers by counties and under different sections. For instance, the rate of grocery store trips, the percentage of people staying home, and childcare enrollment.

Its goal is to have a centralized place for policymakers, organizations, and others can help meet the need of people in different areas.

“The governor just put in place a curfew so we will mark that on our dashboard and we will be able to see did the number of people staying at home change,” McDonald said.

The project was supported by the North Carolina Policy Collaboratory at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with funding from the North Carolina Coronavirus Relief Fund.

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