CDC says 80% of teachers and childcare workers are vaccinated, fails to provide more specifics

This past Tuesday, April 6, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention put out a press release that I found heartening, yet confusing. “Nearly 80 percent of teachers, school staff, and childcare workers receive at least one shot of COVID-19 vaccine,” the release proclaims. These vaccinations include “more than 2 million” people in these professions who received doses through the federal retail pharmacy program and “5-6 million” vaccinated through state programs, all of whom received shots before the end of March.

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Hey CDC, when dashboard?

A new report from the Government Accountability Office suggests that the CDC’s tracker has a long way to go before it becomes the centralized system that Americans need. The report, released last Wednesday, is over 500 pages of problems and recommendations, ranging from the Emergency Use Authorization process to health care for veterans; but it includes some data bangers.

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New, more local data from the CDC

The CDC made two major updates to its COVID-19 data this week. First: On Tuesday, the agency published a new dataset with more granular information on COVID-19 cases. Second: Vaccination data at the county level are now available on the CDC’s COVID Data Tracker.

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Diving into COVID-19 data #2: Workshop recap

Our second workshop happened this week! Liz Essley Whyte, an investigative reporter at the Center for Public Integrity, discussed her work bringing White House COVID-19 reports to the public before they were officially released. Erica Hensley, an independent health and data journalist based in Jackson, Mississippi, provided advice for navigating relationships with local public health officials based on her work reporting on COVID-19 in Mississippi. And Tom Meagher, a senior editor at The Marshall Project, described the communication and coordination work behind his newsroom’s yearlong tracker of COVID-19 in the U.S. prison system. Thank you to everyone who attended!

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Federal data updates, Feb. 7

Since our main stories this week focused on NYC, here are a couple of updates from the federal public health agencies. This includes CDC vaccination data, vaccination demographics, and a survey from the Department of Education.

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The federal government starts acting like a federal government

The new White House is holding COVID-19 briefings, making more data available, and showing more transparency into its decisions. This is, essentially, what a responsible federal government should have been doing since January 2020. But after a year of the Trump administration’s confusion, lack of coordination, and outright lies, it’s refreshing to watch a White House COVID-19 briefing in which every statement doesn’t need to be rigorously fact-checked in real-time.

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Can Biden clean up America’s COVID-19 data?

Shortly after President Joe Biden’s inauguration, the official White House website got a makeover. It now hosts the president’s priorities and COVID-19 plan—including a promise to create a “Nationwide Pandemic Dashboard.” In the coming weeks, I’ll be closely watching to see how the Biden administration follows through on these plans. Will the new administration build on the strengths of existing federal and state data systems, or will it tear down old systems and sow unnecessary confusion?

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Facility-level hospitalization data updated on schedule

In the interest of giving credit to the HHS where credit is due: the agency updated its new facility-level hospitalization dataset right on schedule this past Monday. Last week, I used this hospitalization dataset—along with the HHS’s state-level hospitalization data—to build several visualizations showing how COVID-19 has hit hospitals at the individual, county, and state levels. I also wrote a brief article on COVID-19 hospitalizations for Stacker, hosting visualizations and highlighting some major insights.

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HHS releases long-awaited national profile reports

For months, public health advocates have called on the federal government to release in-depth data reports that are compiled internally by the White House Coronavirus Task Force. These reports include detailed information on cases, tests, and deaths at the state, county, and city levels. This past Friday, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) began releasing all such national COVID-19 reports and the data behind them.

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