We’re not doing enough sequencing to detect B.1.1.7

A new, more transmissible strain of COVID-19 (known as B.1.1.7) has caused quite a stir these past few weeks. It surfaced in the United Kingdom and has been detected in eight states: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, New York, Texas, and Pennsylvania. The fact that a mutant strain happened isn’t a surprise, as RNA viruses mutate quite often. But as vaccines roll out, the spread of a new strain is yet another reminder that we’re nowhere near out of the woods yet.

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Support the COVID-19 Data Dispatch

In tandem with this new site, I’m launching a membership program. This program will enable COVID-19 communicators to connect more directly with each other, as well as to provide feedback that will shape what I cover. It’ll also help me cover my own costs, which have grown significantly as I moved platforms.

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Trust is key for a successful COVID-19 response

The COVID-19 Data Dispatch largely focuses on U.S. news. This country’s response to the pandemic has been so chaotic and confusing that it is a full-time job just to keep up with major developments. But sometimes, to truly understand COVID-19 in America, we need a global perspective. More specifically: seeing how other nations have succeeded in mounting a robust public health response—with actual support from the public—can show us how we have failed.

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National numbers, Jan. 17

Two weeks out from New Years (and the subsequent reporting weirdness), cases seem to be stabilizing, somewhat. But “stabilizing,” at this point in the pandemic, still means ridiculous numbers. 220,000 new cases each day! That’s like the population of Baton Rouge, Louisiana getting diagnosed with COVID-19 every day.

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Was the Capitol invasion a superspreader event?

Like everyone else, I spent Wednesday afternoon watching rioters attack the nation’s Capitol. I was horrified by the violence and the ease with which these extremists took over a seat of government, of course, but a couple of hours in, another question arose: did this coup spread COVID-19?

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Meet your new intern

Hi! I’m Sarah, and I’m going to be helping out around here for the time being. I’m currently a junior at Barnard College (Betsy’s alma mater) studying cell and molecular biology, and I’m looking to go into health journalism after I graduate. When I’m not dreaming of an all-powerful national data dashboard, I’m writing as […]

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