Counting on Counting

One of the most important functions of public health is to gather data on new cases of a disease. This is especially critical during a pandemic. We need the most accurate information on how many people are infected, where the infections are occurring, who is being infected, what the outcomes are from the infections, and which treatments are effective and which are not.

Thus it is surprising to note that the WHO will no longer provide information on the number of cases reported by countries. Further, there is discussion within the CDC to stop reporting cases from the States.

In the absence of timely information from official sources, a dedicated group of citizens have created their own tracking systems to monitor the pandemic. howmanydays has a spreadsheet which tracks deaths in the United States. eccles has generated many graphs describing the growth of cases and deaths at PFI_Forum in the Crunching the Numbers: models, estimates, spreadsheets thread. Based on the reports on the News threads at PFI_Forum, I’ve tried to track cases and deaths around the world in the Pandemic Alert announcement.

People and governments need the most accurate information possible when making decisions. Is there a large outbreak in the city I am planning to travel to? Has a more lethal strain emerged in one nation?

Since the public health establishment has decided that it will not provide this information, it’s good to know that private citizens are stepping into the breach.


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