Among things the public takes for granted as the number of COVID-19 cases nationwide rises like a hockey stick is that their local and state authorities keep them accurately informed about the spread of the disease. Unfortunately, states have uneven performances in this regard. While some deliver highly accurate information about tests, demographics of those infected, hospitalizations and hospital capacity, others only offer a fraction of this information.
The COVID Tracking Project is one of the premier sources for pandemic data. It does what generally is considered an outstanding job of the collection of COVID-19 testing and patient outcomes from all 50 states, five territories and the District of Columbia. Hundreds of volunteers, scientists and members of the media collect the data. However, no process is better than its original sources. So, the COVID Tracking Project has examined and graded each state for the quality of its source material.
The COVID Tracking Project grades 16 factors from each state, which are sorted into five major categories. The first of these is “reporting,” which covers whether the state’s own COVID-19 website is the best source of data and whether that data is “machine-readable.” Next, is the data complete? Does it include information that covers total positive and negative tests and the number of tests completed? Third, is there accurate and complete information about patient outcomes? This includes hospitalizations, ICU information and recovery rates. Fourth, does the state have accurate demographics of the people who have become ill? And, finally, does the state have information about hospitals, particularly hospital capacity?
Most states score very well. Twenty-five have an A+ rating. Another 14 are rated A.
The lowest score posted was a D, and three states or territories fall into this category.
These are America’s states and territories based on the quality of their public COVID-19 reporting:
|District of Columbia||A+|