Philippine NGO launches simulator of coronavirus infections

MANILA, Philippines – Non-profit organization Marine Conservation Philippines (MCP) launched a free-to-use COVID-19 simulator developed by its members, particularly scientists and creatives.

The simulator, which can be accessed here, visualizes the rate of coronavirus infections in 3 scenarios: under “business as usual” approach, a partial lockdown, and total lockdown. It underscores the importance of physical distancing during this time of crisis. 

Inspired by Washington Post’s article that simulated the rate of infections in a made-up town in the US, MCP designed its own simulator based on data specific to the Philippines.

“Filipinos check in on each other more, and are just generally more social. This is usually a great thing, but right now our habits are actually dangerous to us,” explained MCP director Soren Knudsen.

Apart from using their programming skills, MCP members are also using social media marketing to spread the message of the importance of physical distancing.

MCP said in a press statement on Saturday, March 25, that around this time of the year, it would be "busy planting mangrove forests and conducting surveys and research on coral reefs" but the coronavirus emergency "compelled the ragtag group of scientists and creatives to use all their design ingenuity, programming capabilities and social media marketing skills to combat COVID in the Philippines."

“Our environmental work is important, but right now the nation faces a much bigger and immediate danger than ocean pollution. We have a moral obligation to use all the scientific and marketing tools at our disposal to help,” said Camille Rivera, a conservationist at MCP. 

MCP was established in the Philippines in 2015. It works on scientific research to empower coastal communities in the Visayas and establish marine protected areas, reduce pressure on fish stocks, and combat ocean pollution. – Rappler.com