FAQ: A refresher on test positivity rates

I’ve recently been getting a lot of questions about test positivity rates, both from COVID-19 Data Dispatch readers and from friends outside this project, which reminded me of just how confusing this pandemic metric can be. So, here’s a brief FAQ post about test positivity.

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National numbers, December 19

The Omicron surge has arrived in the U.S. While national COVID-19 cases are not significantly up from last week to this week, last week’s bump in the numbers from delayed Thanksgiving reporting has been replaced with a true increase, thanks to the combined pressures of both Delta and Omicron.

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Opening profile: Going above and beyond in Crown Heights, Brooklyn

P.S. 705 went above and beyond New York City school reopening guidance, with a particular reliance on the city’s surveillance testing program. This elementary school had a 55% enrollment by the end of the 2020-2021 school year, above the city’s average of about 40%, and made it through the year with just 11 total cases — and zero closures.

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Diving into COVID-19 data #3: Workshop recap

Our final Diving into COVID-19 data workshop happened this week! Ann Choi and Will Welch, two data reporters at THE CITY (a local, nonprofit newsroom in NYC) discussed making COVID-19 numbers accessible and meaningful for New Yorkers. Júlia Ledur, a graphics reporter at the Washington Post and former data visualization lead at the COVID Tracking Project, walked us through several visualization projects. And Christie Aschwanden, a freelance science journalist, discussed communicating uncertainty in COVID-19 reporting.

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