Latest news



How the U.S. gets its Covid numbers

Coronavirus Daily

How the U.S. gets its Covid numbers

At the start of the pandemic, the U.S. government couldn't answer what seemed like a very basic question you'd want to know about a new, fast-spreading disease: How many people were being tested for Covid-19 across the country?

The Covid Tracking Project, set up in March to answer that question, has turned into a sort of shadow-CDC. Run by a handful of paid staff and hundreds of volunteers, it every day collects the Covid-19 statistics from the U.S.'s fragmented, disjointed public health system.

Bloomberg got an inside look at how the organization was built from a by-the-seat-of-its pants startup in March into a sophisticated data-gathering organization used by everyone from academic groups, the Trump and Biden teams and major media organizations.

A healthcare worker administers a test at a Covid-19 testing facility in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 24.

Photographer: Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg

It's also a reflection on the U.S.'s own capabilities. The success of the Covid Tracking Project has come, in part, because the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was never really set up to address the wide, rapid spread of a new pathogen across the U.S. It's revealed the technical weakness at the agency, at a moment when Americans have needed it the most.

Read the full story in Businessweek here.--Drew Armstrong

Track the virus

Mapping U.S. Covid-19 Cases Near You


What you should read

Decades of Gains Over U.S. Poverty At Risk 
Expiring benefits threaten to entrench the newly poor.
Lilly, Regeneron Covid Drugs Raise Concerns

Powerful drugs present thorny new challenges.
The Pandemic Has Broken Shale
Years of breakneck growth in shale have come to an end.
Saudi Pharma in Vaccine Talks With CureVac 
The MoU could extend the deal to other Gulf countries as well.
South African Retailers Turn Away From China
Global lockdowns caused major supply-chain disruptions.

Know someone else who would like this newsletter? Have them sign up here.

  1. Have any questions, concerns, or news tips on Covid-19 news? Get in touch or help us cover the story.

Like this newsletter? Subscribe for unlimited access to trusted, data-based journalism in 120 countries around the world and gain expert analysis from exclusive daily newsletters, The Bloomberg Open and The Bloomberg Close.

Post a comment