He is one of the anonymous actors who have been helping us since the start of the epidemic to follow and understand the evolution of Covid-19. Every day, Germain Forestier produces hundreds of tables to make the data from hospitals or tests understandable. Aged 36, teacher-researcher in computer science at the University of Haute-Alsace, he specializes in artificial intelligence.
An update of the animation of the evolution of the incidence in France from 29/09 to 21/10
Santé Publique France has added higher brackets for more details 250-500, 500-1000 and> 1000 (instead of> 250 before) pic.twitter.com/olhtw2uuTW
– Germain Forestier (@gforestier) October 24, 2020
Germain Forestier has two entry points to the Covid: his wife is a general practitioner and he lives in Mulhouse, one of the epicenters of the first wave. The IT specialist produces tables and graphs that shed light on the open data of Public Health France. It starts very early, in a targeted manner: “So I pretty quickly tried to generate data visualizations, which were specific each time, with data for a department, region or age group.”
“People were looking for a lot of fairly localized information, they wanted to know what was going on in their department, or for their age group.”Germain Forestier
Everything happens on social networks: Germain Forestier publishes on Twitter, then on his professional website. He went from 500 to 13,000 registered on his Twitter account. Its graphics are enriched by the interaction with researchers, doctors, biologists. An almost interdisciplinary work: “I think we can really talk about mutual enrichment. When I post on Twitter, I try to remain relatively objective in my analyzes, I say what I see but then it is taken up by people, who they do much more medical and virological analyzes. “
His audience actually exploded during the second wave. The Minister of Health, Olivier Véran, even relies on his work, the scientific council as well. It must be said that the intensification of tests improves monitoring of the virus. Germain Forestier sees the second wave arrive very early.
“From the end of August, we saw a resumption of the epidemic at the level of young people, mainly 20-29 years old.”Germain Forestier
From the end of the summer therefore, the computer scientist tries to warn of what he notices: “We actually tried to alert at the time, by saying ‘as long as it stays with young people who have relatively few serious forms, we are not going to have an impact at the hospital level, there is There will be no people hospitalized in reaction or death. But there will be a risk if there is a diffusion to the upper age groups, who, statistically, have more bad luck to have a severe form. “
Every day, the researcher publishes hundreds of charts. This work takes him from one to five hours a day. His personal investment in the fight against the disease.