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Massachusetts teenager tracks COVID-19 cases in schools: ‘Numbers are better than nothing’

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A Massachusetts teenager took it upon himself to create a website database tracking the number of coronavirus cases in schools and colleges across the U.S, according to The Washington Post.

William Wu, 15, got the idea after his older sister began her freshman year at Georgia Tech in August. His mother was constantly checking the university’s COVID-19 dashboard for updates, the Post reported.

“Numbers are better than nothing,” Wu told the Post, noting that the data can bring comfort during this unprecedented time. “If you really sit down and think about them, sometimes you can get a sense of what they truly mean.”

Wu’s site currently lists coronavirus numbers for K-12 schools in 28 states and numbers for colleges in six states, the Post reported.

“I wanted to get the data out there and make the site a stable source of information,” he told the Post.

Wu compiled his data by reaching out to several states’ health departments. He didn’t hear back early on, but in September he gained access to more COVID-19 dashboards and spreadsheets and placed his findings in one place, according to the Post.

He has also received helpful tips from site visitors and has been encouraged to keep going. His list has continued to grow as more schools have returned to in-person instruction.

“[This site] helped me to realize how much I can actually do,” Wu told the Post. “And it showed me how much potential each person has to make an impact and affect the world in a positive way.” 

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