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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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How are states reporting COVID-19 in schools?

In total, 35 states report case counts in all public K-12 schools. 6 states report in an incomplete form, either not including all schools or not including specific case counts. 9 states do not report school COVID-19 data at all. These states are: Alaska, California, Georgia, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Wyoming.

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