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20,000 Hours of Data Entry: Why We Didn’t Automate Our Data Collection

Looking back on a year of collecting COVID-19 data, here’s a summary of the tools we automated to make our data entry smoother and why we ultimately relied on manual data collection.

By Jonathan GilmourMay 28, 2021

A Wrap-Up: The Five Major Metrics of COVID-19 Data

As The COVID Tracking Project comes to a close, here’s a summary of how states reported data on the five major COVID-19 metrics we tracked—tests, cases, deaths, hospitalizations, and recoveries—and how reporting complexities shaped the data.

How Lagging Death Counts Muddled Our View of the COVID-19 Pandemic

During the worst parts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States struggled to keep up with COVID-19 death counts.

By Kara W. SchechtmanMay 19, 2021

Releasing Our State COVID-19 Data Log

From July 2020 to March 2021, The COVID Tracking Project compiled a detailed set of structured COVID-19 data notes, both on changes states made to the data and changes we made to the data we captured from states. Today, we’re releasing those notes.

How We Entered COVID-19 Testing and Outcomes Data Every Day for a Year

We set up a set of roles and a shift system to carefully gather and inspect the data we published.

By Hannah HoffmanApril 28, 2021

Inconsistent Reporting Practices Hampered Our Ability to Analyze COVID-19 Data. Here Are Three Common Problems We Identified.

With little consistency in how states defined, published, and presented COVID-19 data, it is difficult to compare situations across states.

By Sara SimonApril 8, 2021

Releasing Our Annotations on State COVID-19 Current Hospitalizations Data

As part of our wind-down process, we are releasing a one-time snapshot of our research into states’ current hospitalization definitions.

By Rebecca GlassmanApril 7, 2021

A New Surge Has Arrived in Michigan, but We Don’t Know What It Will Look Like

According to federal data, COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have reversed their decline in Michigan, marking a new surge concentrated in and around Detroit, but affecting regions statewide.

Releasing our Annotations on COVID-19 State Data Definitions

As part of our wind-down process, we’re publicly sharing our structured metadata on state COVID-19 data definitions.

Where to Find Simple COVID-19 Data for the US

As The COVID Tracking Project approaches its final day of data compilation on March 7, 2021, we are recommending a selection of federal data sources to people who want a quick and easy way to keep an eye on the pandemic.

By Erin KissaneMarch 4, 2021

Federal COVID Data 101: Working with Death Numbers

The CDC provides two different datasets regarding COVID-19 fatalities. Here’s a walkthrough of how they compare to each other and to The COVID Tracking Project’s data.

By Joseph Bensimon & Quang P. NguyenFebruary 25, 2021

How Day-of-Week Effects Impact COVID-19 Data

An understanding of state reporting schedules and day-of-week effects can help explain the reasons that numbers fluctuate from day to day, and what those changes mean.

By Hannah HoffmanFebruary 22, 2021

The “Good” Metric Is Pretty Bad: Why It’s Hard to Count the People Who Have Recovered from COVID-19

We don’t know how many people in the US have really recovered from COVID-19.

By Amanda French & Quang P. NguyenJanuary 13, 2021

Visualizing COVID-19’s Impact on Hospitals Across the Country

The HHS released a facility-level data set on COVID-19 hospitalizations in December. We’ve taken that data and created an interactive map, allowing the public to see how their local hospitals are faring against this virus.

By Dave Luo & Peter WalkerJanuary 11, 2021

All Eyes on Hospitalizations: This Week in COVID-19 Data, Dec 30

Holiday reporting has garbled most metrics. Going by current COVID-19 hospitalizations, outbreaks in the Midwest are still easing, but every other region is in trouble.

How We Source Our Data and Why It Matters

States provide COVID-19 data in a variety of sources and formats. To ensure our data is as accurate and consistent as possible, we spend a lot of time looking at these sources to make sure that we’re capturing the most data possible for each state, while maintaining high standards of data quality and integrity. Today, we’re publicly releasing a detailed set of notes on the sources of all our data points.

By Hannah HoffmanDecember 22, 2020

Current, New, and Cumulative Hospitalizations: What They Are and Why They Matter

COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to rise across the country, but the method in which they are reported can take several different forms. We dive into the meaning of some of the most common metrics and comment on why some may be more interpretable than others.

By Catherine Pollack & Dave LuoDecember 15, 2020

New HHS dataset tells us precisely where COVID-19 is hitting hospitals

The Department of Health and Human Services released a new public dataset on December 7 that includes data down to the facility level on where COVID-19 patients are hospitalized and how healthcare systems are coping. We explored how to use this dataset and what patterns it can reveal.

What We've Learned About the HHS’s Hospitalization Data

Despite a rocky beginning, the current hospitalization and new admissions metrics from the HHS Protect public dataset have stabilized—and they’re now largely harmonious with state-reported hospitalization metrics if we account for differences in data definitions and reporting lag time.

As North Dakota’s Deaths Metrics Diverge, We’re Switching to a Less Backlogged Measure of Fatalities

North Dakota's growing backlog of death certificates means its count of individuals who died due to COVID is no longer an accurate measure of deaths in the state. As a result, we're switching our metric to deaths among cases, matching the state’s most prominent method of reporting.

By Kara W. Schechtman, Quang P. Nguyen, & Joseph BensimonDecember 1, 2020

Daily COVID-19 Data Is About to Get Weird

The upcoming holiday means that many COVID-19 metrics are going to drop—and then rise—in ways that may trip up unsuspecting observers. Here’s what to watch out for.

By Erin KissaneNovember 24, 2020

COVID-19 Hospitalizations Have Hit an All-Time High

More people are now in the hospital with COVID-19 than ever before, and the per-capita hospitalization rates in the Midwest have now surpassed those of the South in the summer’s Sunbelt surge. Hospitals across the country are warning of staff and PPE shortages, and case rates continue to spike in every US region.

By Alexis Madrigal & Erin KissaneNovember 11, 2020

Introducing the COVID Tracking Project City Dataset

Our new data collection tracks the spread of COVID-19 in 65 cities and counties across the United States, and it lets us see how fatality rates vary widely across geographies.

By Nicki Camberg, Artis Curiskis, Kara Oehler, Judith Oppenheim, Catherine Pollack, Aarushi Sahejpal, & Sharon WangNovember 10, 2020

COVID-19 Deaths Are Rising, But Fatality Rates Have Improved

As COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations once again rise across the United States so, inevitably, will deaths. But there is reason to hope that we will not see the devastating fatality rates of the initial spring surge.

By The COVID Tracking ProjectOctober 28, 2020

Cases Matter

As COVID-19 cases rise across the United States, claims are circulating that case increases are (mostly or entirely) due to expanded testing, and do not indicate a spike in infections. The data does not support this conclusion.

By The COVID Tracking ProjectOctober 27, 2020

Why The COVID Tracking Project’s Death Count Hasn’t Hit 200,000

Several sites tracking the progression of the virus hit a grim milestone today: more than 200,000 deaths since the pandemic began. Our figures haven’t yet reached that level. Here’s why.

By Sara SimonSeptember 22, 2020

Holiday Reporting Lags Interrupt Positive Trends: This Week in COVID-19 Data, Sep 17

Though cases are rising in parts of the Midwest, hospitalizations in the West and South continued trending downward. The Labor Day holiday impacted data reporting lag times both this week and last, obscuring what had been positive trends in September.

By Joanna Pearlstein & Peter WalkerSeptember 17, 2020

Testing In Limbo, Hospitalizations and Deaths Still Dropping: This Week in COVID-19 Data, Sep 10

A long holiday weekend makes ambiguous testing data even harder to understand, but hospitalizations are dropping, which is good.

By Erin Kissane & Peter WalkerSeptember 10, 2020

Finally, Some Good News. This Week in COVID-19 Data, Aug 20

Key data points in our COVID-19 tracking are finally beginning to trend positively. In the South, tests rose while cases fell, a pattern not seen there since early spring. Hospitalizations fell for the third week straight, but deaths remained above 1,000 a day on average.

Hospitalization Data Reported by the HHS vs. the States: Jumps, Drops, and Other Unexplained Phenomena

In mid-July the federal government began requiring hospitals to report COVID-19 data to the HHS rather than to the CDC. We compared current hospitalization data reported by the federal government and state health departments since the switch, and found contradictions that suggest the federal data continue to be unreliable, while the state datasets face their own challenges.

By Rebecca Glassman & Betsy LadyzhetsAugust 11, 2020

Is There a Right Way to Chart COVID-19 Deaths Over Time?

States across the US use two primary methods for announcing COVID-19 deaths: date of death (reported) and date of death (actual). To analyze how the pandemic is trending across the country, understanding the relationship between these two data points is crucial. Here's what we've learned from investigating both methods in three of our largest hotspots: Arizona, Florida, and Texas.

By Peter WalkerJuly 31, 2020

What’s Going on with COVID-19 Hospitalization Data?

Data for current COVID-19 hospitalizations in the United States—one of our most valuable metrics for understanding the pandemic and its effects—has become highly erratic in recent weeks. Here's what we've learned from watching the data closely, and from our initial analysis of the hospitalization data being published by the federal government.

Record New Cases, Surging Hospitalizations, Rising Deaths: This Week in COVID-19 Data, July 9

The South continues to be the epicenter of surges in both cases and hospitalizations. In Arizona, Florida, South Carolina, and Texas, COVID-19 deaths have begun to climb following jumps in new cases. And for the first time since April, deaths are rising nationally.

Confirmed and Probable COVID-19 Deaths, Counted Two Ways

We're up to 24 states publishing both confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths, and we're adding those data points into our API. But states are also using two different ways of deciding which deaths to count as COVID-19 deaths.

To Understand the US Pandemic, We Need Hospitalization Data—and We Almost Have It

Hospitalization data can help us understand the severity of COVID-19 outbreaks in the United States, and even see a little bit of what's to come. Until very recently, we didn't have a national summary figure—now we can finally piece together a national statistic from states that provide it, and estimate the rest.

By Whet Moser & Conor KellyJuly 4, 2020

Why Changing COVID-19 Demographics in the US Make Death Trends Harder to Understand

COVID-19 death data lags behind testing data in ways we mostly understand. What we only partly understand is how an infection rate that seems to be skewing younger will affect the death toll in surging regional outbreaks.

By Whet MoserJune 26, 2020