Why COVID Tracking Project will stop reporting data March 7

The COVID Tracking Project will end its daily updates and data compilation March 7, with the project officially coming to a close in May.

The Atlantic launched The COVID Tracking Project on March 7, 2020. The volunteer organization collects and publishes daily data on COVID-19 testing and patient outcomes for all 50 states, five U.S. territories and Washington, D.C. Over the past year, more than 400 people have contributed to this effort, with some members working more than 300 shifts. 

In a Feb. 1 article announcing the Project's end date, founders Erin Kissane and Alexis Madrigal said the group originally planned to only perform its data compilation work for a few weeks. The Project's main goal was to increase scrutiny of federal sources and encourage public health agencies to publish more comprehensive COVID-19 data.

"Although substantial gaps and complexities remain, we have seen persuasive evidence that the CDC and HHS are now both able and willing to take on the country's massive deficits in public health data infrastructure, and to offer the best available data and science communication in the interim," Ms. Kissane, the Project's managing editor, and Mr. Madrigal, a reporter at The Atlantic, said in the Feb. 1 post.

They pointed to recent federal actions — including the CDC Vaccine Tracker site launched Dec. 20 and the recent incorporation of county-level testing data in the agency's COVID Tracker site — as positive steps toward improving national public health data efforts.

Documentation, analysis and archival work will continue until May. The Project is also publishing detailed guidance for users looking for sources to replace the data, as well as gap analyses noting where replacement data still doesn't exist.  

"Our project contributors have poured thousands of hours of their lives into this crisis response — many of them for almost a year. They've borrowed time from other work, quit jobs, postponed graduate degrees and missed time with their families," Ms. Kissane and Mr. Madrigal said. "It's time to release these brilliant people back to their lives."


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