Three states out of the total 50 being tracked by the COVID Tracking Project have been given the letter grade of “D” for data tracking quality.
Connecticut, Maryland and Ohio are the only states to get this grade. Of the other states, 27 are graded “A,” 17 are graded “B” and three are graded “C.”
The COVID Tracking Project is a hand-crafted data-tracking website that combines and sorts through all the data available from U.S. states and territories about the spread of the coronavirus. The project is headed by Alexis Madrigal, a staff writer for The Atlantic, but includes journalists, scientists, designers, volunteer data-grabbers and other contributors.
Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tracks overall numbers, it does not publish information such as the complete number of people tested for the coronavirus. The COVID Tracking Project works to act as a single for a comprehensive overview of a variety of information about states’ individual statistics, including confirmed cases, death toll, pending cases, hospitalizations and negative cases.
“We get the bulk of our data directly from state public health authorities, so we’re as reliable as they are, though we don’t have a live feed, so our numbers can be a few hours behind,” the project said on its website. “States, however, report their numbers in inconsistent ways, which makes working with this dataset a bit complicated.”
The project said an ideal report from a state would include all testing data, including positive, negative and pending cases; a timestamp; would be available online; would be linked to the state’s public health website; be updated daily; and include specific locations of the cases, such as by county or zipcode.
Ohio’s information, available on its public health website, includes number of confirmed cases and deaths broken down by county, as well as the number of hospitalizations. It also is available online with the timestamp of its latest updates and is updated daily. However, it does not include the number of negative or pending cases or demographic information.
Maryland’s available information is similar. It is available online, broken down by county, and includes the number of confirmed cases and the timestamp of its daily update. Like Ohio, it does not include the number of negative or pending cases or information about hospitalizations, age or sex of patients.
Connecticut’s online information includes number of confirmed cases by county and indicates that it is updated daily with a timestamp, but also lacks demographics and more minute information.
By comparison, Colorado, which received the top grade, includes information about the number of confirmed cases, deaths, hospitalizations and number tested. It also breaks down data by county and demographics.
“Testing is a crucial part of any public health response, and sharing testing data is a necessary part of understanding this outbreak,” the project said on its website. “Thus far, the CDC has declined to provide comprehensive testing data. That’s why a group of volunteers came together to provide this essential data to the public.”
The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the United States is currently more than 15,000, according to the CDC. The death toll is 201.
Read more about the COVID Tracking Project here.
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Jordyn Pair is a reporter with Battleground State News and The Michigan Star. Follow her on Twitter at @JordynPair. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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