A man whose website became essential reading for those trying to understand the impact of the coronavirus pandemic said he was shocked to find out he had been made an MBE.
John Frace, 27, sprang into action in the early days of the outbreak, translating often complicated and hard-to-read data sets about hospital admissions and deaths into easily understandable numbers.
“Basically it was from the very first day there wasn’t really any data and just little news articles the Government were putting out about the latest figures so I thought I would just keep track on it so there was a more organised way to see it”, the University of the Highlands & Islands, Argyll, student said.
It was just something I did for a bit of fun at the start but there was a point, maybe six months into it, where I was getting a lot of messages and realising how many people were actually using it
“I was sharing that online for a little bit and someone recommended that I should make a website so you could bookmark it and visit it every day, so I did that, and it grew quite substantially from there.”
Since then his TravellingTabby.com coronavirus tracker has had millions of hits, showing statistics for Scotland as well as the whole UK, and becoming a vital resource for both the public and NHS workers alike.
Mr Frace was made an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to public health communication during Covid-19, in recognition of how important his data hub has become, and he said it was a “huge shock” to open the letter telling him the news.
— Travelling Tabby (@TravellingTabby) May 30, 2022
“It was just something I did for a bit of fun at the start but there was a point, maybe six months into it, where I was getting a lot of messages and realising how many people were actually using it,” said Mr Frace, who lives in Dunoon, Argyll.
“People were not just looking out of interest, but they were going on to make risk assessments about how they behaved which would affect their health and their family’s health.”
The website shows graphs of everything from vaccinations administered and infection rates, to the number of people in hospital and how many people have ever tested positive for Covid-19.