CDC updates its variant classifications: This one is more of an update than a new source. On Thursday, the CDC updated the list of coronavirus variants that the agency’s scientists are watching. This list now includes three categories: Variants of Concern (or VOCs, which pose a significant threat to the U.S.), Variants of Interest (which may be concerning, but aren’t yet enough of a threat to be VOCs), and Variants Being Monitored (which were previously concerning, but now are circulating at very low levels in the U.S.). Notably, Delta is now the CDC’s only VOC; all other variants are Variants Being Monitored.
COVID-19 School Data Hub: Emily Oster, one of the leading (and most controversial) researchers on COVID-19 cases in K-12 schools, has a new schools dashboard. The dashboard currently provides data from the 2020-2021 school year, including schools’ learning modes (in-person, hybrid, virtual) and case counts. Of course, data are only available for about half of states. You can read more about the dashboard in this Substack post from Oster.
Influenza Encyclopedia, 1918-1919: In today’s National Numbers section, I noted that the U.S. has now reported more deaths from COVID-19 than it did from the Spanish flu. If you’d like to dig more into that past pandemic, you can find statistics, historical documents, photographs, and more from 50 U.S. cities at this online encyclopedia, produced by the University of Michigan Center for the History of Medicine.