Dot’s Reading Room ~ October 2, 2021 ~ “What Happens When the World’s Most Popular Covid-19 Dashboard Can’t Get Data”

October 4, 2021

“What Happens When the World’s Most Popular Covid-19 Dashboard Can’t Get Data” is a detailed look at the Johns Hopkins effort to collect and disseminate data from sources around the world.

If you recall, Johns Hopkins was literally the first to do this collection and the story behind the effort, launched by Lauren Gardner, Associate Professor in the Department of Civil and Systems Engineering, is fascinating. Gardner studies the systems science of infectious diseases—how they spread based on the nature of the pathogen in question, human behavior, demographics, and other factors; she is not an epidemiologist or a public health official. In fact, the folks at Johns Hopkins were surprised and overwhelmed when their mapping went viral.

The article in the Sept. 29 issue of TIME, which I was able to read free online (and I hope you will be able to as well) answers many of our questions about the quality of data, why some states and counties stopped collecting data (in prisons, among other places) and the general unreliability of data.  It is no wonder that many of us are confused about “the numbers” – how many cases, how many deaths, etc.  It may be years before the full and accurate picture of this pandemic emerges.

Here is one quote from the article:

”Recently, some U.S. coronavirus data have become harder to find or completely unavailable. That’s not because the websites are crashing from traffic overload, but because some U.S. states are consciously removing information or shutting down their dashboards entirely. Gardner and other members of the JHU team are dismayed by the reversal.”

Here’s the link to the article:

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October 4, 2021 9:55 pm

The availability of public health data is important. I didn’t let it spoil my enjoyment of a great Bedford Day, but at the time I was wondering whether I was participating in a Super Spreader event. Maybe we have not had time to measure any resulting spike of Covid cases in our town, but I am keeping an eye on local news.

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