COVID source shout-out: Community Profile Reports

We’re now approaching almost a year since the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) first started publicly releasing Community Profile Reports, massive documents containing COVID-19 data at the state, county, and metro area levels.

These reports were originally compiled internally, starting in spring 2020, for meetings of Trump’s White House Coronavirus Task Force. Reporters such as Liz Essley Whyte at the Center for Public Integrity were able to obtain some of the documents, but they remained a mostly-secret trove of data until the HHS started publishing them publicly in late December.

At the time, I wrote that I was excited about the public release because these reports contain a wealth of information in one place—including contextual data (such as population-adjusted case numbers and demographic information) and rankings for policy-makers built right into the Excel spreadsheets.

Since then, I’ve relied on Community Profile Reports for weekly data updates in this newsletter, along with numerous other stories. While their update schedule has not remained regular, the reports continue to be a one-stop shop for everything from vaccination rates to hospitalization metrics.

So, this Thanksgiving weekend, I’m thankful for the Community Profile Reports. According to the HHS site, they’ve been downloaded almost 100,000 times, and probably a solid 300 of those are me.

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