Monitor the COVID-19 Outbreak with These APIs Tyler Charboneau April 14, 2020 As the fight against COVID-19 continues, monitoring the pandemic’s progress has become a top priority. Awareness is absolutely essential in the wake of a crisis—for citizens and data scientists alike. Thankfully, organizations and developers have made key metrics available to the public. Case counts, fatalities, recoveries, and geographical data have helped us understand this evolving threat. The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University maintains perhaps the most popular monitoring tool currently available. The World Health Organization (WHO) also hosts its own global dashboard, supplemented by regional data visualization. These are easily-digestible infographics that anyone can benefit from. Websites can gather these COVID statistics through APIs. We’ve rounded up some of these APIs and their providers below, in hopes of democratizing this critical information. Apify Apify is an API marketplace, with many resources recently dedicated to fighting COVID-19. The website even offers its own dashboard that’s periodically updated. The company’s primary contribution, however, is its library of APIs encompassing 42 locales. These include 40 countries, a unified “World” dataset, and Los Angeles, California. These APIs summon numerical totals for the following: Examined individuals Infected individuals (confirmed) Recovered individuals Deceased individuals Tested individuals Infected and deceased per region (certain countries) Suspected cases Quarantined individuals Apify points out that many official COVID monitoring websites don’t offer APIs. The COVID-19 library is an effort to convert pandemic tracking sites into public resources. Developers on the Marketplace have developed open-source URLs. These endpoints are 100% free. This makes outbreak monitoring accessible to hobbyists and organizations alike. Best of all, the service is always accepting new contributions—these resources are likely to multiply in the coming months. We can thus expect more apps and websites to host tracking data over time. CovidAPI Developed by Javier Aviles, the CovidAPI project scrapes data from major sources and compiles it within your dashboard. The API provides global statistics, while specialized endpoints summon country-specific information with ease. The CovidAPI is a fork of an older API—adding some code fixes and ionic front-end friendliness. CovidAPI also offers customized scraping frequencies. It’s also free and open-source, making it perfect for numerous projects. covid19 Developed by Rodrigo Pombo, alongside 77 contributors, the covid19 solution returns confirmed cases, deaths, and recoveries at the national level. The project pulls COVID-19 information, while returning results in a JSON format. Pombo’s solution is the central pillar of four other APIs: The COVID-19 Grafana API, for stats visualization in Grafana The COVID-19 GraphQL API The CovidAPI.info API, a RESTful solution made for dashboards The COVID-19 Ruby Gem Sixty-six different visualizations rely upon covid19—on both desktop and mobile. These range from daily reports, to global reports, to comparisons, to infection curves. The covid19 project is perfect for those pairing unique dashboards with reliable information. It’s both free and open-source, boosting its popularity with numerous developers. The RapidAPI Marketplace Like Apify, RapidAPI’s Marketplace offers 13 coronavirus APIs for public consumption. Five of these are freemium APIs (charging by feature or call quantity) while the remaining eight are completely free. Regardless, getting started should be relatively simple. Note that the most popular of these have been utilized heavily in the past 30 days, driving average latency times upward. These APIs request some of the following: Total world statistics Cases by country Cases by country by day Data for all countries Mask usage instructions Infection histories by country India-specific figures North American figures Data by ISO code Testing statistics Transportation infection data These APIs function well overall, though success rates can vary widely by API. Those needing the utmost in COVID-19 statistical stability should keep this in mind. Indie developers will gravitate towards RapidAPI’s free options. However, those with smaller user bases can get by with freemium APIs. Every API is updated frequently, though the Coronavirus (COVID-19) API appears to be retired. Xapix Xapix recently launched what it calls the COVID19 API Initiative, aimed at researchers and developers. Access to their Covid19API is free—as is a year’s usage, capped at 500,000 calls per month. Because this pandemic is unpredictable, that extended access may prove to be invaluable. You can also customize Covid19API’s endpoints to access specific data. That includes: Global case counts Cases by country Deaths and recoveries by country Deaths and recoveries worldwide The solution even links with Johns Hopkins’ popular dashboard data. We can even monitor unique information, like hospital beds and points of interest. Getting started with Xapix requires you to sign up. You’ll create an organization, project file, and explore Covid19API’s available REST endpoints. Publishing any chosen endpoint is simply a curl or powershell command away. The company also offers support—perfect for new developers and companies with robust implementations of the API. The service offers a data endpoint dashboard, mapping, and analytics. It’s easy to see how Covid19API performs, ensuring you and your users receive the latest outbreak developments without fuss. Xapix also includes Swagger and OpenAPI files for supplemental use. This is an ideal overall option for high-traffic applications. Postman COVID-19 API Resource Center Saving the most comprehensive resource for last, we have Postman’s COVID-19 API collection. The site hosts documentation on 28 COVID APIs and API collections. These are compiled from official sources, like the WHO, CDC, and ECDC. The page includes numerous locale-specific APIs while still providing ways to access global statistics. Developers can run each API within the Postmates environment for testing purposes. Coronavirus monitoring isn’t only about the metrics. We must also keep abreast of official developments, announcements, and procedures. The following data is available, keeping that in mind: YouTube, Twitter, and RSS feeds for the WHO, CDC, and ECDC COVID-19 information for all 50 states in the U.S., plus five territories General information on current cases Information on instances of pneumonia related to COVID-19 Global stats, country stats, and associated timelines Indexing search engines for over 60 scientific repositories Deaths Number of specimens tested Trending Twitter search terms State governor and health department Twitter accounts Contact information for both state and county health departments These are truly impactful resources that offer much more than typical, numerically-driven APIs. The solutions offered by Postman are qualitative and robust. These are great for infographics, dashboards, and heightening public awareness at multiple levels. The COVID Tracking Project At the center of the COVID Tracking Project is its Data API, which returns useful statistics in either a JSON or CSV format. Data is cumulative, so your figures won’t decrease automatically over time. The resource focuses specifically on U.S. metrics—offering information at the national, state, and county levels. The effort is led by Alexis Madrigal, with the support of 100 volunteers across different disciplines. At the granular level, users can request the following: Cumulative positive test results Cumulative negative test results Calculated differentials between positive and negative results Total hospitalized Total deaths Pending test results Any changes in the above figures at the national, state, and county levels People under investigation CDC-specific figures The Tracking Project also offers unique insights. It assigns letter grades to responses, and even scores data sources based on their reliability (or transparency). Users can request hashes and check for updates. You can even view health department social media information. Lastly, historical data is easily attainable by API call. The COVID Tracking Project offers an impressive array of investigative options, reflecting the influence of its architects. Defeating COVID-19 Through Data Assessing a global pandemic as extensive as COVID-19 demands both qualitative and quantitative analysis. These APIs can connect millions—perhaps even billions—of users with vital tracking information. Making insights available to everyone will help us make smarter decisions. That includes normal citizens, scientists, governments, healthcare workers, and developers. These tools have the power to change lives. Sometimes, awareness is sufficient to enact change and help people confront the unknown.