COVID source callout: CDC archives public datasets

The CDC has archived a couple of major datasets providing COVID-19 cases and deaths by state and county.

The CDC is now updating its COVID-19 cases and deaths data weekly, instead of daily, as I covered last week. This shift goes beyond the agency’s public dashboard: the CDC has also archived datasets with state- and county-level data providing COVID-19 cases and deaths, which were previously updated daily on

These datasets previously included the underlying numbers behind the CDC’s dashboard, allowing data-savvy Americans to produce their own analysis and visualizations. I learned about the archiving via a Twitter thread by Iowa data expert Sara Anne Willette, who uses the CDC’s data to update an independent dashboard tracking COVID-19 in her state.

To replace these daily datasets, the CDC has posted a new dataset, “Weekly COVID-19 County Level of Community Transmission Historical Changes.” It appears to provide COVID-19 cases and test positivity rates by county, by week—but the data aren’t actually available yet. This dataset currently includes zero rows while the CDC resolves a “processing issue.”

None of this is particularly surprising, considering that the CDC is clearly deprioritizing COVID-19 tracking and allocating its data analysis resources elsewhere. But it remains frustrating for those of us who still want to know what’s going on with COVID-19 in our communities.

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