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From Our Experts

Johns Hopkins Changes COVID Tracking Methods

The Coronavirus Resource Center on Sept. 21 moved to daily instead of hourly updates and implemented other changes.

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Authors:
Doug Donovan
September 21, 2022

The Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center (CRC) on Sept. 21, 2022, implemented several changes to the data collection processes it has operated since the beginning of the pandemic.

The changes are being driven by the declining quality and utility of pandemic data reported by state governments. A substantial number of U.S. local and state agencies have stopped reporting COVID-19 data with the frequency and consistency needed for the CRC to maintain its current scope of operation.

Across all data categories – cases, deaths, vaccines, and tests – more than half of U.S. states now report data just once per week. And testing data has been problematic for some time in large part because at-home COVID tests have lessened the utility of official state testing results.

The changes that went into effect on Sept. 21 are:

  • The CRC ended its collection and reporting of testing results data and test positivity rates. Existing graphics and information on the website will remain visible but static.
  • The CRC now updates all data on the website on a daily, rather than hourly, cadence seven days a week.
  • Global vaccine data on the CRC is sourced to the World Health Organization and Our World in Data rather than to the broader, proprietary network of data extraction programs built by Johns Hopkins.
  • U.S. vaccine data on the CRC is sourced to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention instead of to the Johns Hopkins proprietary process, which reduces the vaccination data points reported.
  • The CRC ended its manual collection of Tribal Nation information and demographic data used in its Disparity Explorer visualization and the Demographics of Covid graphic.

For purposes of accessing the data, technical explanations for the changes on the CRC GitHub.

The Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center has been one of the leading resources for free, near real time pandemic data reporting and has recorded more than 1.2 billion page views as media outlets, governments, nonprofits, industry and citizens around the world have relied on it to track the progression of COVID-19.

Doug Donovan

Doug Donovan is digital communications manager for the Coronavirus Resource Center.