Avi Schiffmann, the 17-year-old high school student from Mercer Island, Wash., just outside Seattle, started working on his coronavirus information website — ncov2019.live — in early January. GeekWire profiled his efforts in early March and the rest of the world has been clicking non-stop.
On Tuesday, a guy who recognizes viral content when he sees it, shined a light on Schiffmann.
Rex Chapman, the former NBA basketball star who has transitioned into some sort of Twitter video savant, tweeted a report on Schiffmann by Bloomberg to his 648,000 followers.
Along with a mix of silly content and plenty of good dogs in his feed, Chapman is used to calling out heartwarming content and heroes of all varieties. In a profile last month, ESPN called his work “a Twitter feed for our time” as Chapman scoffed at the notion that he could be considered a “social media influencer.”
But he was impressed by Schiffmann’s age and initiative and the fact that the kid turned down big ad dollars for his website. Thousands of likes, replies and retweets from his followers backed that sentiment.
In the Bloomberg video shot at his home with his family, Schiffmann says he has about 30 million visitors a day to his site, which serves as a database for regions around the world and how they have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I am spending most of my free time working on it,” Schiffmann told GeekWire back in March. “I get about 100 emails a day for bug fixes, feature requests, that kind of thing, so I am always working on adding new things.”
On his own Twitter feed, Schiffmann tries to let people know what fixes are being made or what tweaks are coming. Much like the virus he is tracking, it doesn’t appear that the work or the correspondence is slowing down.