The COVID-19 NOWcast is a model that estimates daily rates of COVID incidence for each of the 95 counties in Tennessee. Most counties are small and they were at risk of not receiving the same level of high-quality, near-real-time estimates and trends that the major cities in Tennessee were receiving. The NOWcast fills that need. It is currently being used by the Tennessee Department of Transportation and the University of Tennessee system office, and is integrated into the COVID-19 Tracking Dashboard developed by the Tennessee State Data Center, where it is often picked up by local news agencies.
The NOWcast emerged from GEOG 509 spring 2020, taught by Nicholas Nagle, which was covering Bayesian computing. Jesse Piburn, a PhD student in the Bredesen Data Science Center/ORNL, was taking the class and approached Nagle with the problem. They spent April, May, and June developing the model.