COVID-19 Data: Will the Open Source Community Succeed Where the Federal Government Failed?

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is controlling everything from headlines to personal behavior. One of the problems that have made it difficult to respond to the outbreak on a personal and national level is the lack of meaningful data. The COVID Tracking Project is hoping to change that. The Project is taking an open-source approach to collecting and reporting COVID-19 related data.

The CDC recently reported that it will no longer report the number of persons tested, nor the number of negative tests, because now that states are executing their individual strategies the CDC numbers are no longer meaningful. This is where the COVID Tracking Project comes in. It collects COVID-19 related information from all 50 US states, Washington DC, and five other US territories. The data includes positive and negative test results, pending tests, and total people tested for each state or district.

The project published its reasoning:

"Testing is a crucial part of any public health response, and sharing test data is essential to understanding the outbreak. The CDC is currently not publishing complete testing data, so we're doing our best to collect it from each state and provide it to the public."

The project admits the data isn't perfect, but it will be transparent in both its strengths and shortcomings. The data is available in a spreadsheet or through an API. To understand its methodology, and the data each state is making available, visit the Project site.

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