This past Tuesday, several top state auditors announced a joint initiative: they’re going to review how state COVID-19 data are collected and reported. Auditors from five states—Delaware, Florida, Mississippi, Ohio, and Pennsylvania—worked with the National State Auditors Association to put together a framework that every state can use. 13 other states, as well as D.C. and Puerto Rico, have already expressed interest in using the framework.
This data audit was the brainchild of Delaware State Auditor Kathleen McGuiness, who describes her motivations in a Delaware press release:
I saw variation in the reporting and monitoring of COVID-19 cases by states nationally and felt it was important to have a consistent tool for states to easily review and share information about how their state’s approach to data use informs COVID-19 mitigation efforts. It’s an issue every state is grappling with during this pandemic, and I’m proud to lead this effort toward a universal goal.
The results of this audit won’t be shared for several months, but it’s good news that the initiative is at least taking place. Where the federal government has failed to institute data standards, the states are taking matters into their own hands. This is the most interested I’ve been in auditing since I watched Parks and Recreation season three.