For the past year, nonprofit news organization The Marshall Project has tracked COVID-19 cases in prisons, in collaboration with The Associated Press. The tracking effort has primarily focused on compiling numbers from state and federal prison bureaus, through a weekly tally that compares total cases reported by these agencies to their previous totals. This week, though, the Federal Bureau of Prisons started excluding a lot of prisoners from their count, making it impossible for the Marshall Project to compile accurate numbers.
Last night, I received my first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. I don’t usually publish more personal writing in the CDD, but it felt appropriate to share a short reflection I wrote during my 15-minute waiting period.
The CDC made two major updates to its COVID-19 data this week. First: On Tuesday, the agency published a new dataset with more granular information on COVID-19 cases. Second: Vaccination data at the county level are now available on the CDC’s COVID Data Tracker.
On Monday, AstraZeneca released results from their Phase 3 trials in the United States, and they looked good. But on Tuesday, officials started to question the results. The results released on Monday had looked better than more recent results released elsewhere, one of which showed an overall efficacy of around 60%.
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.
After several weeks of declines, our national count of new cases has started creeping up: the current 7-day average is 57,000, after 53,000 last week and 55,000 the week before. Michigan continues to see concerning numbers, as do New York, New Jersey, Florida, Texas, and California—all states with higher counts of reported variant cases.
Hawaii is the latest state to add vaccinations by race to its dashboard. I am a fan of both the state’s green-and-orange color choices and its handy finger-pointing icon, instructing users to hover over each bar in order to compare vaccination numbers to Hawaii’s demographics.