In partnership with the Harvard Global Health Institute, Google today released the COVID-19 Public Forecasts, a set of models that provide projections of COVID-19 cases, deaths, ICU utilization, ventilator availability, and other metrics over the next 14 days for U.S. counties and states. The models are trained on public data such as those from Johns Hopkins University, Descartes Labs, and the United States Census Bureau, and Google says they’ll continue to be updated with guidance from its collaborators at Harvard.
The COVID-19 Public Forecasts are intended to serve as a resource for first responders in health care, the public sector, and other affected organizations preparing for what lies ahead, Google says. They allow for targeted testing and public health interventions on a county-by-county basis, in theory enhancing the ability of those who use them to respond to the rapidly evolving COVID-19 pandemic. For example, health care providers could incorporate the forecasted number of cases as a datapoint in resource planning for PPE, staffing, and scheduling. Meanwhile, state and county health departments could use the forecast of infections to help inform testing strategies and identify areas at risk of outbreaks.