Media Coverage

One Weak Link and the Whole Thing Falls Apart

Photo credit: Think Global Health

In an op-ed for Think Global Health, Thoai Ngo, Program Director for the Council’s Poverty, Gender & Youth Program, and graduate intern Charlotte Brasseux, MPH candidate at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, call for a more structured, uniform, and comprehensive approach to collect, report, and analyze COVID-19 data in the U.S.

Sharing results from a new analysis that looked at seventy COVID-19 data sources from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and health departments across fifty states, nine territories, and ten major cities, Ngo and Brasseux found that data reporting is “woefully inadequate and regrettably incomplete.” They also found that COVID-19 outcomes such as cases, hospitalizations, deaths, recoveries and testing are not being disaggregated by demographic indicators like poverty levels, underlying conditions, and gender, which is essential for intersectional analyses to understand the causes of disparities and pinpoint future hotspots. 

 “Governors and local health department officials cannot afford to treat data as a weak link in their response effort. Local governments and health departments should invest in their data systems and experts, collaborate across state lines to share expertise, bring in scientists from research universities and institutions to provide support, and make data available to researchers and the public as quickly as possible. Accurate, complete, and timely data is foundational to infectious disease prevention and control. Without this data, local health officials will continue to operate in the dark in their fight against COVID-19.”

Read in Think Global Health.