Speed of coronavirus deaths shock doctors as New York toll hits new high

NEW YORK – New York state, epicenter of America’s coronavirus crisis, set another single-day record of COVID-19 deaths on Wednesday, as veteran doctors and nurses voiced astonishment at the speed with which patients were deteriorating and dying.

The number of known coronavirus infections in New York state alone approached 150,000 on Wednesday, even as authorities warned that the official death tally may understate the true number because it omits those who have perished at home.

“Every number is a face,” said New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who ordered flags flown at half-staff across New York in memory of the victims.

Cuomo cited a drop in new hospitalizations and other data as evidence that New York’s social-distancing restrictions were “Bending the curve,” helping to gain some control over the infection rate.

New York state accounts for over a third of the U.S. total.

New York City officials said a recent surge in people dying at home suggests the most populous U.S. city may be undercounting the loss of life.

So far New York City’s announced death toll has reflected only laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 diagnoses, mostly at hospitals.

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COVID-19 Dashboard Uses Machine Learning to Track…. Anodot, the company pioneering the autonomous monitoring space, has launched a public service including a machine learning driven analytics dashboard that monitors locally reported COVID-19 cases, and notifies users when a particular region’s numbers change significantly.

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How AI Is Tracking the Coronavirus Outbreak

With the coronavirus growing more deadly in China, artificial intelligence researchers are applying machine-learning techniques to social media, web, and other data for subtle signs that the disease may be spreading elsewhere.

Natural language processing is used to parse the text posted on social media, for example, to distinguish between someone discussing the news and someone complaining about how they feel.

A company called BlueDot used a similar approach-minus the social media sources-to spot the coronavirus in late December, before Chinese authorities acknowledged the emergency.

The rate of new infections has slowed slightly in recent days, from 3,900 new cases on Wednesday to 3,700 cases on Thursday to 3,200 cases on Friday, according to the World Health Organization.

Brownstein says colleagues tracking Chinese social media and news sources were alerted to a cluster of reports about a flu-like outbreak on December 30.

Beyond identifying new cases, Brownstein says the technique could help experts learn how the virus behaves.

Alessandro Vespignani, a professor at Northeastern University who specializes in modeling contagion in large populations, says it will be particularly challenging to identify new instances of the coronavirus from social media posts, even using the most advanced AI tools, because its characteristics still aren’t entirely clear.

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