Featured sources, May 23

  • GAO analysis of COVID-19 in nursing homes: The Government Accountability Office, an organization that does research and audits on behalf of Congress, has a new report out this week on the devastating COVID-19 outbreaks that took place in nursing homes. The GAO researched about 13,000 facilities, using CDC data from May 2020 to January 2021. 94% of the nursing homes in the study faced at least one COVID-19 outbreak, with the majority of outbreaks (85%) lasting five weeks or more.
  • Johns Hopkins Pandemic Data Initiative: The Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center is one of the most widely-cited sources of COVID-19 data, providing detailed and up-to-date information for both the U.S. and the world. But the resource center’s scientists “have struggled to work with COVID-19 data that is inconsistent, incomplete, and insufficient,” writes JHU data lead Beth Blauer in a blog post. A new section of the resource center will explore data inconsistencies and highlight possible solutions.
  • Excess deaths by U.S. county: Excess deaths, or those deaths that occur above a region’s past baseline, are a common metric for examining the true toll of COVID-19. In addition to reporting excess deaths by U.S. states and demographic categories, the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) also reports this information by county. A group of researchers (Stokes et al.) recently analyzed these county-level data and found that U.S. COVID-19 deaths may be underestimated by about 20%; their findings were published this week in PLOS Medicine.
  • Vaccine consent laws by state: As the Pfizer vaccine is now available to children ages 12 to 15, a lot of teenagers out there may want to know if they can get vaccinated without parental permission. The site VaxTeen provides these kids with information on the consent laws in every state, as well as a guide for talking to your parents about vaccines and other resources. (H/T Robin Lloyd.)

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