Sources and updates, April 2

  • CDC publishes list of archived data pages: As the CDC prepares to shift its COVID-19 data publication efforts when the federal public health emergency ends in May, the agency has published a list of COVID-19 data and visualization pages that are no longer receiving updates. These archived pages include vaccination demographics, COVID-19 outcomes among pregnant people, data from correctional facilities, and more. I expect the list will get longer as we approach May 11, though the CDC is still updating core COVID-19 metrics (like cases, deaths, wastewater surveillance, etc.).
  • One federal COVID-19 emergency may end sooner: Speaking of ending emergencies: you might have seen some news this week about a Republican bill to end COVID-19’s emergency status, which President Biden has announced he would not veto if it comes to his desk. It’s important to note that this is actually a different emergency declaration than the public health one, which is under the control of the federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The public health emergency is still slated to end on May 11, and its implications for COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines have not changed. Also, related: this story in STAT explains the federal funding that’s currently left over for COVID-19 response.
  • Firearm injuries rose during COVID-19: A new report from the CDC shows how emergency department visits due to firearms rose during the pandemic. Compared to a 2019 baseline, these vitis were 37% higher in 2020, 36% higher in 2021, and 20% higher in 2022, the researchers found. Firearm injuries and deaths are another example of how COVID-19 contributed to higher excess morbidity and mortality; while these injuries weren’t directly caused by the coronavirus, they may be connected to the social and economic unrest that the U.S. faced over the last three years.
  • County Health Rankings 2023: This week, the County Health Rankings initiative at the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute released its 2023 data. These rankings cover a wide array of health-related metrics, from health behaviors like alcohol and drug use to physical environment factors like air quality. The database may be a helpful resource for reporters or researchers looking to understand how their communities compare to others, while the organization’s 2023 report offers national health trends.
  • Global health workforce statistics: This database from the World Health Organization details how many health workers are employed around the world and over time. Statistics cover a variety of different health professions (doctors, specialists, nurses, dentists, pharmacists, etc.) and up to 20 years of data, depending on the country. While the dataset doesn’t cover through the pandemic—2020 is the most recent year included —it still shows how health workers have declined in many places over the last couple of decades. (H/t Data Is Plural.)
  • Public health worker declines: Speaking of health workers: a new study, published in the journal Health Affairs, shows how the public health workforce in the U.S. has severely declined during the pandemic. The researchers used data from a workforce survey conducted in 2017 and 2021, comparing past “intent to leave or retire” with actual rates of workers leaving. Nearly half of the state and local public health workers in the survey sample left between 2017 and 2021, the researchers found. This paper shows how recruitment and retention among health workers drastically needs improvement.

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