This year’s seen a rapid reduction of available COVID data. Certainly in California, where we’ve been spoiled with extensive information on the spread of this virus.
In 2020, as the pandemic began to ramp up, the state and counties began to launch dashboards and datasets, quickly making knowledge available for anyone who wanted to work with it. State dashboards tracked state-wide and some county-wide metrics, while local dashboards focused on hyper-local information and trends.
Not just county dashboards, but schools, hospitals, and newspapers began to share information. Individuals, like myself, got involved and began to consolidate data, compute new data, and make that available to anyone who wanted it.
California was open with most of their data, providing CSV files, spreadsheets, and Tableau dashboards on the California Open Data portal. We lacked open access to the state’s CalREDIE system, but we still had a lot to work with.
It was a treasure trove that let us see how the pandemic was evolving and helped inform decisions.
But things have changed.
The Beginning of the End
The last 6 months or so, this data has begun to dry up. Counties have shut down or limited dashboards. The state’s moved to once-a-week case information. Vaccine stats have stopped being updated with new boosters.
This was inevitable. Much of this requires coordination between humans, real solid effort. Funding is drying up for COVID-related data work. People are burnt out and moving on from their jobs. New diseases and flu seasons have taken precedence.
But this leaves us in a bad position.…