Wall Street Journal: Hackathons Target Coronavirus: Participants tackle global problems from the shortage of ventilators to how to enforce social distancing

Wall Street Journal - Agam Shah - April 9, 2020

Thousands of technology enthusiasts and others are flocking to a new wave of hackathons created to fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

The low-sleep, high-octane sessions have attracted participants world-wide to team up online and suggest solutions to problems such as the equipment shortage for health providers or a better way to track the spread of Covid-19, the respiratory disease caused by the virus.

“Everyone is looking at the urgency of the situation,” said Youseph Yazdi, executive director at Johns Hopkins Center for Bioengineering Innovation and Design, which organized a five-day hackathon in the last week of March that attracted 513 teams with 2.331 applicants from 34 countries.

That hackathon was around thematic areas including how to communicate effectively about Covid-19, prevention of transmission within communities and health-care equipment shortages.