New CDC mortality data: “Real-time public health surveillance at a highly granular level”

This past Monday, the CDC put out a major data release: mortality data for 2020 and 2021, encompassing the pandemic’s impact on deaths from all causes in the U.S. The new data allow researchers and reporters to investigate excess deaths, a measure of the pandemic’s true toll—comparing the number of deaths that occurred in a particular region, during a particular year, to deaths that would’ve been expected had COVID-19 not occurred. At the same time, the new data allow for investigations into COVID-19 disparities and increased deaths of non-COVID causes during the pandemic.

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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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Goodnight, COVID Tracking Project

A couple of hours after I send today’s newsletter, I will do my final shift of data entry work on the COVID Tracking Project’s Testing and Outcomes dataset. Then, later in the evening, I will do my final shift on the COVID Racial Data Tracker. And then I will probably spend another hour or two bothering my fellow volunteers on Slack because I don’t want it to be over quite yet.

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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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