General Question

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Where is the data coming from?

Asked by Hawaii_Jake (34057points) July 29th, 2020

This is a General Section question.

Trump ordered the sources to stop reporting COVID19 data to the CDC and instead send it directly to the White House. He did this to try to silence the bleak numbers about soaring infections and skyrocketing deaths. Today, we passed 150,000 deaths.

Where is this data coming from if not from the CDC? Where do news organizations get it from? I have read the stories from reliable news organizations, but they don’t state where they are sourcing their information.

It’s likely useless to state this, but I will anyway. I am hoping someone can link to something verifiable. I’m looking for facts. I am absolutely not looking for your opinions about the pandemic or your ideas about where the media goes for information. This is not put here to debate whether something is or is not fake news. If you don’t have facts, please scroll on by.

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20 Answers

LuckyGuy's avatar

I’ve been using the NY Times numbers. Look at New York Times Coronavirus update.
Coronavirus map and case count

gorillapaws's avatar

It is my understanding that we’re still obligated to report COVID-19 cases to the State Department of Health—at least here in Virginia.

janbb's avatar

Looks to me like the CDC is still updating the data and death counts. Here is a link that shows the deaths as of today from the CC site:

chyna's avatar

@janbb your link isn’t working for me.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@janbb The link doesn’t work for me either.

@LuckyGuy Thanks for that link.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

I go to Johns Hopkins. Here is the world numbers by country You can drill by state by going the US map.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

This article just came out today. It is directly pertinent.

Pandora's avatar

I assume that the numbers are still reported to each states government which is then probably shared with the media. or other agencies. At the very least hospitals will be reporting cases with all other hospitals in each state. They need to keep count so they know who needs help and where they can send patients.

JLeslie's avatar

The data comes from the states and then goes to the CDC or HHS, wherever they are sending it now. I’m not sure if the reporting goes from the hospital simultaneously to the CDC and the state level, or if it first goes to the state and then up to the CDC. I assume it is all simultaneous, because it all seems to be available daily. I could be wrong.

People seem to want the data to be perfect, but it is not perfect. Flu data is imperfect also. Things get adjusted after the fact. It doesn’t matter, it just has to be close enough. During flu season there will be even more inaccuracies, because if a test result was inconclusive (that happened to my girlfriend’s husband) and flu test was negative, but the person presents with pneumonia it will be a judgments call. Covid does seem to have a different lung xray than flu from what I have heard on TV, so that will help I guess. Pneumonias not tested for flu wind up in flu data very often, which people have argued for a long time is overstating flu numbers. Depends how the pneumonia happened, but still the point is there are inaccuracies and if you look at flu burden data from prior years you will see it is an estimate, a range.

A lot of people like the Johns Hopkins site. Another popular one is Worldometer You can scroll down and go to the country you want. Once on the country you can see today, and then also click on the tab for yesterday to see both at a glance.

For my state I look at the state website and also an additional website that was created by the woman who was fired by my governor. Both have tons of data updated daily. Positivity rates, how full the ICU’s are at every hospital in the state, case by county and by city. Deaths by county. I would assume every state has something similar. The one thing I don’t see is how much the hospitals can grow their ICU capabilities. For Instance I heard recently Dade County is at 147% ICU, so that to me means they have created new ICU units in some hospitals above and beyond their typical capacity.

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JLeslie's avatar

I googled. Here is the most up-to-date CDC explanation of data gathering for covid, I don’t know if your article trumps this in any way.,to%20COVID%2D19.

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Cupcake's avatar

That’s helpful @JLeslie but I think this link on COVID death data is also relevant:

To address the question details, death data and hospital data are not the same thing at all.

JLeslie's avatar

@Cupcake Great link. Understanding the provisional Death Counts was especially informative.

LadyMarissa's avatar

I use the same John Hopkins map that @Tropical_Willie provided except I find it too confusing on the breakdown of the individual states, so I go to any particular state’s health department for any more localized info.

My understanding is that some of the larger news outlets were already compiling their own numbers even before thumper decided to shut us out of the CDC guidance. They were collecting info from individual states & keeping a running total. I don’t have a link stating that as it has been several months since I read it & I’m sure NONE of them will admit to how they collect their data or trump will be cutting off their sources.

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