The Role of Satellites During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Geospatial data is becoming an important tool for infectious disease modeling. In the future, satellites could be used to predict where the COVID-19 virus is likely to emerge. Satellite data has previously been used to successfully predict outbreaks of cholera and a team of researchers from the University of Maryland, College Park are currently working on a predictive model for the virus that causes COVID-19. Satellites can also be used to measure the effects COVID-19 is having on different regions and to detect communities that could be vulnerable to infection in unmapped areas by automatically identifying buildings and roads.
Earth observation data can give insights into the environmental changes currently taking place due to COVID-19. Social distancing has led to a huge decrease in road traffic and as a result there are lower levels of pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide in the air. Satellites can also be a useful tool in measuring the economic impact that COVID-19 is having on a country. By tracking the movement of goods in ports, satellites can give an insight into the economic impact of COVID-19 as well as the pace of recovery.
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