Yes, I'm very proud to say that the tool has been developed by a couple of our doctoral students. Taking the lead were Isha Berry and Jean-Paul Soucy. As well, David Fisman, Ashleigh Tuite and others of our faculty have been integrally involved in developing that tool.
Essentially, the backdrop of that tool was to make up for the fact that there was not routinely available data on COVID, and we were in a crisis in which we desperately wanted information and needed desperately to get information out to the public. With the ingenuity of this team and their colleagues, they took the media reports that were coming down the pike of who was dying from COVID, what their characteristics were and where they lived, and they essentially assembled their own database. You can imagine that it is painstaking work to put together a database that's not in any way automated but really requires the blood, sweat and tears of people extracting information from wherever they can find it.
In terms of what they found, there was a variety of things, really, that came from that data. They were able to tell us how the pandemic was proceeding, where we were seeing hot spots and whether things were getting better or worse as days went on. What they weren't able to tell us is something about the inequities in terms of socio-demographics, so they tried to collect information on things like occupation and so on, when it was available from a media report. Because they weren't relying on a source that has a standard information collection set-up, they really were at the mercy of whatever they could find. Usually, that involved where people lived, what age they were and, of course, their COVID-19 outcomes.
This was really able to tell us a lot, but what's sort of remarkable is the fact that they did this in such short order and with their own ingenuity and initiative, but also that they had to do this because we didn't have a government system of routine data collection that was publicly accessible.