National numbers, Feb. 21

The number of COVID-19 patients in U.S. hospitals is now the lowest it’s been since early November. About 7,000 new patients were admitted each day this week—while this is still a huge number, it’s a notable drop from the peak (18,000 per day) we saw earlier in the winter.

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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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Vaccination data update, Jan. 3

Despite the holidays, several more states began reporting vaccination data in the past week. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also made a huge update: this national dashboard is now posting vaccination counts at the state level. And I made a vaccination data resource page!

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Federal data updates, Dec. 13

Rounding out the week with a couple of updates on federal data, unrelated to hospitalizations and vaccines. Updates include: a new app for testing data, a CMS proposal that Medicare and Medicaid providers build standard databases, and the progress of a bill which would make federal court filings free for researchers to access.

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COVID source shout-out: The CDC

This past Thursday, the CDC held a media briefing. Normally, this wouldn’t be big news; the agency is expected to alert the press—and by extension, the American public—of major new developments in its work. During the pandemic, however, the very existence of these briefings has become newsworthy.

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