Tracking COVID-19 in the United States: From Information Catastrophe to Empowered Communities

Tracking COVID-19 in the United States: From Information Catastrophe to Empowered Communities

Although every U.S. state has created a COVID-19 dashboard, those dashboards were developed independently, meaning there is no single standardized, real-time source for data from every state — data that is essential to informed decision-making with respect to the virus, a report from Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of Vital Strategies, finds. The report, Tracking COVID-19 in the United States: From Information Catastrophe to Empowered Communities (21 pages, PDF), identifies targets for fifteen indicators needed for effective COVID-19 response, including per-capita rates of infection and seven-day averages for new confirmed and probable cases, confirmed and probable deaths, and daily hospitalizations; per-capita percentage of positive diagnostic and screening tests; per-capita percentage of new cases linked to at least one other case; turnaround time for diagnostic tests; per-capita percentage of cases with contact tracing started within forty-eight hours of specimen collection; and per-capita percentage of people wearing masks correctly in public indoor settings. A review of the state dashboards found that the data reported are inconsistent, incomplete, and inaccessible in most locations and that there is no standard for state-, county- and city- level data collection and reporting. The report offers a model state data dashboard, as well as best practices and recommendations, including reporting data the same day it is collected; linking to county and city data dashboards; and enabling data downloads in a non-proprietary format with clear documentation.

(Photo credit: Brian McGowan via Unsplash)

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