After leaving Facebook, Instagram creators Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger have brought out their first collaborative product and it’s not a social network. The two launched Rt.live, a platform that helps monitor attempts to counter COVID-19 spread across each state.
According to TechCrunch, the project takes advantage of the open source method of Systrom to measure Rt (the average number of people infected by a given infected person) on a regular basis to demonstrate how well a given state is dealing with it, something below a Rt of 1 indicates a good disease battle.
The app also helps to make sense of the data in a way that these trackers don’t often see. In place orders, you can filter by region, recency, and use of shelter (as you might guess, those states are typically worse off without orders). It could give you a greater idea of how the US is dealing with the pandemic than just looking at case numbers, which could be useful for later studies.
Rt.live is, to some degree, the product of the Instagram job. When designing the systems that made Instagram erupt, Systrom had been researching virality. As much as people can complain about the caustic impact of social networks, they can come in handy if they help to keep track of the COVID-19 and trigger strategic changes.