Through up-to-date visuals, track how testing volume, positivity, and proportion give a sense of whether the occurrence of new cases is slowing or growing.
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This page was last updated on Thursday, December 3, 2020 at 08:15 AM EST.
This graph shows the total number of cases, deaths, and tests performed in each state per 100,000 people. By comparing the rate of cases and deaths, we can get a sense of how COVID-19 has affected each state. Since confirmed case numbers may be dependent on how much testing a state is doing, it is also important to see how many tests have occurred in each state. If people who are infected cannot get tested, they will not be counted as a confirmed case in the state’s data.
Testing data from The COVID Tracking Project;
cases data from JHU CSSE;
and population from ACS 1-year data (2018).;
It is important to track the testing that states are doing to diagnose people with COVID-19 infection in order to gauge the spread of COVID-19 in the U.S. and to know whether enough testing is occurring. When states report the number of COVID-19 tests performed, this should include the number of viral tests performed and the number of patients for which these tests were performed. Currently, states may not be distinguishing overall tests administered from the number of individuals who have been tested. This is an important limitation to the data that is available to track testing in the U.S., and states should work to address it.
When states report testing numbers for COVID-19 infection, they should not include serology or antibody tests. Antibody tests are not used to diagnose active COVID-19 infection and they do not provide insights into the number of cases of COVID-19 diagnosed or whether viral testing is sufficient to find infections that are occurring within each state. States that include serology tests within their overall COVID-19 testing numbers are misrepresenting their testing capacity and the extent to which they are working to identify COVID-19 infections within their communities. States that wish to track the number of serology tests being performed should report those numbers separately from viral tests performed to diagnose COVID-19.
Our data provider, The Covid Tracking Project, is in the process of changing how it maps states’ data to the categories we use for our positivity calculations. These changes mean the category of data we use in our denominator (Total tests) may now include tests previously not included in our calculations, which in turn may result in a test positivity calculation that is lower than what we would have calculated for the state prior to the change.
With this significant change, we will once again review our data inputs and calculations to ensure that our numbers reflect the most responsible public health calculation of test positivity.