For many nations genomic sequencing has been at the core of their responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. But the world needs to expand upon and connect those independent efforts into a global network to better predict and manage future disease outbreaks.
COVID-19 testing data are crucial for the continued pandemic response, but testing utilization and availability began to decrease following vaccine rollout. Data on testing accessibility are necessary to ensure equitable and effective distribution of testing, which will in turn improve the quality of testing data for monitoring COVID-19 transmission.
Politicians remain divided on how to handle the COVID-19 pandemic despite an abundance of high-quality data and analysis indicating the effectiveness of mitigation efforts such as masking. Dr. Filipe Campante attributes this to a decrease in trust in U.S. institutions and siloed social networks fueled by a plethora of biased media outlets and politicians spewing contradictory information.
Little data on comorbidities is currently reported publicly. Comorbidity data is critical to better design treatments, craft health policy and response strategies, and aid in patient care for those infected by SARS-CoV-2. If they aren’t already, States should begin producing, using and sharing this data.
The Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory has been a key player in the international public health data field for over 20 years. APL was responsible for teaching local, state, and federal health agencies how to collect and use data for future planning, and is now a key contributor to delivering real-time COVID-19 data to the world.
The second Pandemic Data Initiative Expert Forum highlighted data’s vital role in shaping and assessing policy for schools and vaccination of school-age children, particularly throughout the COVID-19 pandemic response.
Data collection on food security and nutrition has often received low priority, especially during a crisis. This is counterintuitive as poor diet and obesity are major risk factors for COVID-19 and key contributors to negative public health outcomes. We need more and better-connected data on food systems and health to combat this pandemic and strengthen the world.
Many states are releasing demographic data on COVID-19 cases, deaths, tests, and vaccinations to the public, but inconsistent, incomplete, and missing information persists.