CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Researchers at the University of Virginia Biocomplexity Institute have collected data on the coronavirus and turned it into interactive dashboards online.

James Schlitt, a research assistant at the institute, said since the coronavirus will most likely spread in the United States, it's important to be proactive, which is why he created a dashboard to track the virus.

"It's important for decision making,” said Schlitt. “One, you want to know the story in your area. Two, you want to know the story of this epidemic and areas you interact with. And three, you want to know what this story might look like in your own region."

The graphs show information such as where the virus is, recorded symptoms, age groups affected, and even how one case spread to others within a country. 

"When you track down these stories, you can learn who were the people who spiked these huge epidemics, how did it happen, and start thinking how can we prevent this in the future,” said Schlitt.

Another dashboard, made by Dawen Xie who works at the Biocomplexity Institute’s Blacksburg office, shows a map and timeline to track where the virus spread and when. 

Computational epidemiologist and associate professor at UVA, Bryan Lewis, said the explosive nature of the virus was surprising, but there needs to be a balance between sensationalized news of the virus and those who brush it off.

"It's not the time to panic, but it is the time to be prepared,” said Lewis.

That is why their data can help with getting the facts straight.

"This is getting to the part where we're starting to really need to use models to project where it might be going in the future,” said Lewis, “and how different interventions might be able to mitigate those effects."

Schlitt compares handling epidemics like the coronavirus to putting out a fire.

"You wouldn't spend a year trying to run a scientific study to figure out how you could have put out that fire with exactly ten gallons," he said. "You try to figure out where the fire is, detect it as early as you can, and either get water there quicker or get more water there."