Why the United States is having a #coronavirus data crisis
La différence avec les données informatiques gigantesques emmagasinées pour espionner tout le monde est extraordinaire.
Benjamin notes that many health departments still share data by fax, which is more time-consuming than digital methods. A lack of funds also means that overburdened staff don’t have enough time to analyse the data they have. The APHA and other scientific organizations have long called for resources to improve data surveillance in the US public-health system. In a report published last September, public-health epidemiologists described the current system as siloed, sluggish, manual and paper-based.
“We’ve begged for money over the years to build a solid information highway so that we can collect data rapidly and share it with the people that need it in a timely way,” says Benjamin. “But we’ve never gotten what we needed.”
Without up-to-date, reliable information on who is infected, why and where, US scientists, policymakers and the public must instead rely on media reports and independent efforts to consolidate data, such as the COVID Tracking Project from magazine The Atlantic and the COVID-19 Dashboard compiled by researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. But the former is not comprehensive or universally trusted, and the latter doesn’t detail where transmission is happening. There is an urgent need for such information, says Caitlin Rivers, an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins, because people are returning to work, to socializing and to schools. That means that precisely tailored interventions are more important than ever. “It’s not enough to just tell people to be cautious.”