What is the COVID-19 Data Dispatch?

As of November 2023, this project is no longer active. Instead, check out Betsy’s new publication: The Sick Times, a new nonprofit news site chronicling the Long Covid crisis.

About the publication

Every Sunday, the COVID-19 Data Dispatch explores the state of COVID-19 data in the U.S. Learn what the major public health agencies are up to, which new resources are coming online, and how to use data to understand the pandemic’s impact on your community. New articles are posted to this site each week, and the highlights are sent to newsletter subscribers.

We aim to answer these questions for readers:

  • How is COVID-19 impacting my community?
  • How do I communicate those impacts to my friends, family, and neighbors?
  • Why is tracking this pandemic in the U.S. so complicated?
  • What are public health experts, data scientists, and journalists doing to make sense of those complications?
  • Where did the country‚Äôs public health system go wrong, and how can I help?

Articles are supplemented with a growing body of resources on COVID-19 data geared towards reporters and other communicators.

Since this project started in July 2020, we have featured at least one COVID-19 data source in the newsletter each week. Check out the full list of sources here. We also maintain detailed annotations on data sources for COVID-19 wastewater surveillance in the U.S.

All COVID-19 Data Dispatch content is shared freely to an audience including hundreds of journalists, science communicators, educators, and many other concerned citizens working to keep their communities safe.

But producing this website and newsletter are costly: we face monthly fees for Mailchimp (our newsletter platform), along with annual fees for WordPress (our website platform), other technology costs, and hours of time each week spent writing and compiling issues.

To support the publication, you can donate to its writer, Betsy Ladyzhets, through Ko-fi.

About the writer

Betsy Ladyzhets, an independent data journalist on the science and health beat, has been immersed in the COVID-19 data world since March 2020. In addition to running the COVID-19 Data Dispatch, she freelances for national popular science publications and other science communication organizations. She was recently a journalism fellow at MuckRock, where she worked on award-winning investigative stories about COVID-19.

Previously, Betsy managed the Science & Health vertical at online data journalism outlet Stacker and was a data entry volunteer at the COVID Tracking Project, where she worked on the core Testing and Outcomes dataset and the COVID Racial Data Tracker. Her past freelance work has appeared in Science NewsMIT Technology ReviewFiveThirtyEight, The Open Notebookand other national publications. She graduated from Barnard College in 2019 with a dual degree in Biology and English.

Read more about Betsy on her portfolio website. Find her on Twitter @betsyladyzhets, and send her feedback at betsy@coviddatadispatch.com.

For more details on how she compiles the newsletter, see this page.

Betsy Ladyzhets

Disclaimer: Although Betsy volunteered for the COVID Tracking Project, this publication is an entirely separate project that reflects only her own reporting and explanations. Nothing published in the COVID-19 Data Dispatch communicates on behalf of the Project in any way.

Design: The COVID-19 Data Dispatch’s logo is by Megan Biggs.