COVID-19 data whistleblower Rebekah Jones gets arrested, tests positive

Late Sunday, January 17, COVID-19 data scientist Rebekah Jones turned herself in to Florida Law Enforcement authorities. The charge against her, according to a press release from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) on the 18th, is “one count of offenses against users of computers, computer systems, computer networks and electronic devices”. She allegedly hacked a government communication system and sent an authorized message urging workers to “[s]peak up before another 17,000 are dead.”

Read More

Vaccination is a logistics problem

The federal government is distributing millions of doses each week, and many of those doses are making it into arms. By sheer numbers, we are already on track to meet President Biden’s 100 million vaccinations in 100 days goal. Our current problem is, in fact, a logistics one. It’s a build up of infrastructure failures, with all the weight falling on underfunded local public health departments.

Read More

We’re not doing enough sequencing to detect B.1.1.7

A new, more transmissible strain of COVID-19 (known as B.1.1.7) has caused quite a stir these past few weeks. It surfaced in the United Kingdom and has been detected in eight states: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, New York, Texas, and Pennsylvania. The fact that a mutant strain happened isn’t a surprise, as RNA viruses mutate quite often. But as vaccines roll out, the spread of a new strain is yet another reminder that we’re nowhere near out of the woods yet.

Read More

Vaccine confusion abounds—and this is the easy stage

Despite the federal government’s intense push to get vaccines through safety trials, that “last mile” step—from the Pfizer and Moderna factories to people’s arms—has been under-planned and underfunded. CDD analyzes publicly reported vaccination phases for every state and vaccine registration portals, along with other data updates.

Read More

School data update, Jan. 3

Many school districts across the nation will once again open for in-person instruction later this month. But data on how COVID-19 spreads in schools remain inadequate. At the request of one of my readers, I’ve updated my annotations of state K-12 data reporting, first published on December 6.

Read More

15 states are reporting COVID-19 vaccination data—federal government lags behind

This past week, the first COVID-19 vaccine doses were administered to frontline healthcare workers across the country. The FDA issued Emergency Use Authorization to a second vaccine. But I haven’t seen a vaccination dashboard from the CDC. This federal agency is lagging behind several states that are making their vaccination counts public, as well as journalists who have already begun to compile the limited information that’s available.

Read More

Florida data scientist faces police break-in

In May, Rebekah Jones was fired from the Florida Department of Health. As a specialist in geographic information systems (GIS), she worked on the department’s COVID-19 dashboard; she claims that she was fired because she refused to manipulate data to look like Florida was in a better spot for reopening. After her firing, Jones started her own, independent Florida dashboard which includes more open information and methodology details. This past Monday, Florida state police raided Jones’ home. They seized her computer, which she had been using to update her Florida state and school data dashboards. They also pointed guns at her and her children.

Read More