As Alabama continues to fight against the spread of COVID-19, people are more reliant than ever on public health data to track daily cases and vaccines. One Alabama man has created Bama Tracker, a website dedicated to compiling this data all on one page.
David Marconnet, a Huntsville native, has been keeping track of Alabama’s COVID-19 cases and data since March 2020, starting with the first few initial reports from the Alabama Department of Public Health. These initial charts were first posted on his personal website but were then expanded upon as time went on.
“After a month of that, I had enough data and charts built that there was a whole website there,” Marconnet said.
As people began to reach out expressing how helpful the website was, he was motivated to continue to expand and improve Bama Tracker into the site it is today. Now, Bama Tracker has appeared in multiple Alabama news outlets and has over 10,000 followers on Twitter.
The project continues to be a solo project for Marconnet, though he credits others for their guidance and feedback to help improve the site.
“I can’t take 100% credit as to the way the site has matured, but I haven’t really needed any other help externally either,” he said.
The website runs on scripts written by Marconnet that organize data from the ADPH into the charts and tables available on his website.
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“The data coming from the state health department has been very reliable as far as them updating daily,” Marconnet said.
While there have been some difficulties in getting more detailed data, Marconnet said it is important to “be patient” and let “the official source catch up to the desires that everyone has.”
Some of the data must go through other organizations before being made available to the public, he said.
“There have been so many unknowns about how COVID-19 spreads, about how people get it,” Marconnet said. “And so, I think that [Alabama has] probably done the best they can do with so many unknowns. I have found their data has been very valuable and a lot of insights have been taken out of it. I am extremely thankful for the [ADPH] and their work.”
After the pandemic ends, Marconnet said he may transition to track other Alabama-related data.
“The site is still very useful doing what it’s doing right now … I think the rest of the spring and summer will still be COVID related stuff,” Marconnet said. “The site could try to track data that might be valuable in other ways. I’ve toyed with the idea of doing weather or politics, but I really don’t know.”
Alternatively, he may leave the site up as a remnant of the past in case anyone needs to look at past COVID-19 data.
“A lot of people have found it to be helpful for their county… I’d like to believe it’s been a valuable useful thing during the pandemic,” Marconnet said.
Based on the feedback that the site has gotten, it seems to have helped many across the state track COVID-19 on a community level, Marconnet said.
“The goal was always to make it helpful and useful to people, and that hasn’t changed since the beginning,” Marconnet said.
While the future of COVID-19 may be uncertain, Bama Tracker will continue to provide valuable information to the people of Alabama.
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