The COVID-19 pandemic has been a soul-wringing experience for many around the world and to some extent, that has included me. You see, my wife works on the front-lines in our local Jubilee Hospital Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and I’ve been privy to just how terrifying it is for those nurses working with this highly infectious disease. For that reason and the virus’s potential to disrupt all aspects of life as we know it, I became a bit obsessed with the data and I decided to put that to work for others, which, coupled with my fear for my family’s health, manifested into a couple of websites I think are worthy of sharing. My hope, our hope at StepForth, is that these sites make a difference in the fight to live safely during this life-altering pandemic.
Website 1) COVID19Now.com
I live in beautiful British Columbia, Canada, and I wanted a resource that covered COVID-19 cases in my Province, my nation, and the United States. From that need was born a website that was truly a joy to create. COVID19now.com is chock-full of some of the data you have seen in other places, but also unique tips for keeping your kid’s busy while at home, a page devoted to COVID-19 education, and even a “Lift Your Spirits” section that provided some smiles for those who needed it (a pale contribution compared to the awesome Some Good News that came later).
The majority of the data on the site is as live as possible owing to amazing API feeds from official providers like the CDC (drawn from various regions) and a popular aggregate feed provided by John Hopkins University. A fairly unique aspect of the website are the charts and tables that are interactive and often allow downloading the raw data for ease of personal use. This includes data I have been manually accruing on a daily basis using data not available via API.
All-in-all, we’re pleased this site has become a well-trafficked site and we hope it continues to grow while it serves the purpose of keeping the public informed and educated.
Website 2) COVID19Therapy.ca
One of our long-time clients is a psychotherapist and after seeing COVID19now.com Dr. Corrinne Allyson asked me if I would be willing to join forces on a project. Her idea was to create a website devoted to supporting front-line health care workers in British Columbia by connecting them with registered therapist volunteers offering pro-bono services. With my personal tie-in to this crisis, I couldn’t say no and later, COVID19Therapy.ca was created.
Utilizing more hours than I care to count (it was far more difficult than we had expected) StepForth’s team built the website and background programming using a mixture of Gravity Forms, PHP programming, and some helpful smaller plugins. That work, along with immense help from our co-founder, Dr. Corrinne Allyson, volunteers and amazing sponsors, COVID19Therapy.ca was launched on April 27th. The site now has over 100 registered therapists from British Columbia prepared to offer free support to front-line health care workers. The only thing that will make us prouder will be to see how many health care workers are helped.
Wishing Everyone the Best
I and the staff at StepForth hope you come through this pandemic physically unscathed. I won’t even bother to hope you missed the emotional and mental punishment; I’m not sure any of us have avoided that. That being said, some of you live in places that are going to be opening businesses sooner than later in an understandable effort to revive our economies and lives. Indeed, I hope that will be the same for my family, my business, and friends.
With that, I pray we mindfully leave our homes to begin our ‘new normal’ as though a barely discriminate hunter is still on the loose… because there is no doubt it is. If we don’t take it seriously, it will catch enough of us unaware that we’ll all end up back, mandatorily, behind closed doors.
And I say HELL NO to that!