“More than one billion people turn to Google Maps for essential information about how to get from place to place–especially during the pandemic when safety concerns are top of mind… This week, we’re introducing the COVID layer in Maps, a tool that shows critical information about COVID-19 cases in an area so you can make more informed decisions about where to go and what to do,” wrote Sujoy Banerjee, the Product Manager of Google Maps.
How to access the COVID layer on Google Maps
Keep in mind that as of today, the feature hasn’t yet been available on my own device. However, since Google said that it is expected to launch worldwide on Android and iOS devices by this week, it should be available soon. Still, here’s how to access the feature when it does appear on the app.
- Open up Google Maps
- Tap on the layers button on the top right hand corner of your screen (the icon that looks like stacked pieces of paper)
- Tap on “COVID-19 info” under Map Details
The COVID-19 layer in the Maps app will show the seven-day average number of confirmed cases in each area per 100,000 people. There will be areas of the map that are colour-coded based on case rate, as well as a label that shows if cases are going up or down.
According to Banerjee, the trending case data is visible at the country level for all 220 countries and territories that Google Maps supports. But only certain countries will get more detailed information based on state or province, county, and city-level data.
The data comes from multiple authoritative sources—including Johns Hopkins, the New York Times, and Wikipedia. These sources get data from public health organisations like the World Health Organisation (WHO), government health ministries, as well as state and local health agencies and hospitals.
The information can already be seen on Google when you type in “COVID-19 stats (Country name)” in the search bar. From there, you can view the stats, as well as a map with of cases. At the moment you can find out if there are any cases in your area via the MySejahtera app (iOS, Android).
The new upcoming feature will be a good tool to use if you plan on travelling to different states and regions in the country. While we’re allowed to travel within Malaysia during the RMCO, COVID-19 cases are rising. It’s always good to keep updated on the most affected areas.