CDC says 80% of teachers and childcare workers are vaccinated, fails to provide more specifics

This past Tuesday, April 6, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention put out a press release that I found heartening, yet confusing. “Nearly 80 percent of teachers, school staff, and childcare workers receive at least one shot of COVID-19 vaccine,” the release proclaims. These vaccinations include “more than 2 million” people in these professions who received doses through the federal retail pharmacy program and “5-6 million” vaccinated through state programs, all of whom received shots before the end of March.

Read More

CDC stepped up sequencing, but the data haven’t kept pace

The CDC has stepped up its sequencing efforts in a big way over the past few months, going from 3,000 a week in early January to 10,000 a week by the end of March. But data on the results of these efforts are scarce and uneven, with some states doing far more sequencing than others. And the CDC itself publishes data with gaping holes and lags that make the numbers difficult to interpret.

Read More

Privacy-first from the start: The backstory behind your exposure notification app

Since last fall, I’ve been fascinated by exposure notification apps. These phone applications use Bluetooth to track people’s close contacts and inform them when a contact has tested positive for COVID-19. As I wrote back in October, though, data on the apps are few and far between, leaving me with a lot of questions about how many people actually have these apps on their phones—and how well they’re working at preventing COVID-19 spread. This week, I put those questions to Jenny Wanger, co-founder of the TCN Coalition and Director of Programs at the Linux Foundation of Public Health.

Read More

Where are we most likely to catch COVID-19?

This week, I wrote a story for Popular Science that goes over what we know (and don’t know) about the most common settings for COVID-19 infection. The story allowed me to revisit a database on superspreading events and issues with a lack of contact tracing data in the U.S.

Read More

Goodnight, COVID Tracking Project

A couple of hours after I send today’s newsletter, I will do my final shift of data entry work on the COVID Tracking Project’s Testing and Outcomes dataset. Then, later in the evening, I will do my final shift on the COVID Racial Data Tracker. And then I will probably spend another hour or two bothering my fellow volunteers on Slack because I don’t want it to be over quite yet.

Read More

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.

Read More

New study reveals disparities in COVID-19 mortality by sex and race

A new study from the GenderSci Lab at Harvard sheds light on how race and sex intersect in COVID-19 death rates. Researchers Tamara Rushovich et al. used data from the only two states that do provide COVID-19 mortality data on sex and race: Georgia and Michigan. The patterns they found in both states complicate the well-known trend that men are more likely to die of COVID-19 than women.

Read More

there might be a link between the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine and those blood clots after all

This week, authorities had enough data to posit a possible connection between blood clots known as cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) and the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. The EMA has now advised, as of April 7, that “that unusual blood clots with low blood platelets should be listed as very rare side effects of Vaxzevria (formerly COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca).” They are still recommending its use given the gravity of the COVID-19 pandemic, but it’s another blow to the vaccine that held much of the world’s hopes in inoculating the entire population. A mechanism by which the vaccine is causing these thromboses has not been discovered.

Read More

National numbers, April 11

This is the fourth week in a row of case increases in the U.S. While this week’s jump is lower (we went from 57,000 new daily cases two weeks ago, to 63,000 last week, to 64,000 this week), the level where we’ve landed is still reason for concern. Our case numbers now are comparable to last July, when the summer surge was threatening hospital systems in the South and West.

Read More

COVID source shout-out: New York expands eligibility

This week, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced two major expansions for vaccine eligibility. State residents age 30 and older became eligible starting on March 30, and residents age 16 and older became eligible starting on April 6. This expansion allowed two of my favorite vaccine communicators to get their shots!

Read More

Hey CDC, when dashboard?

A new report from the Government Accountability Office suggests that the CDC’s tracker has a long way to go before it becomes the centralized system that Americans need. The report, released last Wednesday, is over 500 pages of problems and recommendations, ranging from the Emergency Use Authorization process to health care for veterans; but it includes some data bangers.

Read More

Pfizer for the whole pfamily

Good news for people with kids: this week, Pfizer and BioNTech released results for their trial involving adolescents aged 12-15. In the trial, no participants who received the vaccine contracted symptomatic COVID-19 out of a total of 2,260 participants, marking an efficacy rate of 100%.

Read More