Massachusetts ditching daily COVID numbers updates - Upsmag - Magazine News

Massachusetts ditching daily COVID numbers updates

One more pandemic-era staple is going by the wayside: Massachusetts health officials are ceasing the daily numbers and death reports, cutting them down to weekly data dumps.

The state Department of Public Health, which has provided daily COVID-19 case and death reports since spring 2020, issuing its last such update later today before starting with weekly updates next Thursday, July 14.

“As the pandemic has continued to evolve, so too have our data needs,” said state Epidemiologist Dr. Catherine Brown, according to a statement. “The changes taking effect next week are part of our ongoing efforts to adapt to the pandemic and focus on the metrics most useful at a given time. The updated reporting reflects the current status of COVID-19 and its impact.”

The state made its final dialy dispatch on Friday, announcing 1,850 new cases and 19 deaths as the percent positivity continued to nudge back up, now at 7.87% as trends remained mixed.

The state health officials say they’re also updating the data dashboard with census-updated numbers to make ratios more accurate. They’re also chucking a bunch of what the DPH essentially characterized as vestigial data points, including higher-education tests broken out as their own category, as well as sections for contact tracing — a practice that was much touted early in the pandemic but has long since gone out the window as prevalence increased.

“Due to changes in case investigation and contact tracing practices, these data are no longer representative of the current situation,” the state wrote, adding that higher-ed facilities no longer were doing the large amounts of testing that they once were requiring.

The state will keep doing a weekly vaccination report, too, now publishing each Wednesday rather than Thursday. The updates for daily number of doses, which currently run Monday to Friday, will just be updated in the weekly chunk, too.

“While we all have become used to checking the numbers every day, monitoring trends over time is actually the most useful way to apply the COVID-19 data,” Dr. Helen Boucher, Interim Dean of Tufts University School of Medicine and member of the Governor’s Medical Advisory Board, said in the statement.

Residents early in the pandemic watched for the daily reports, issued then seven days a week, closely as the brutal first surge of the virus swamped the area and ground life to a halt. News outlets raced to post the much-viewed updates as news stories online and on local TV news.

But as the pandemic has worn on and surges have become less deadly, focus has lessened on the daily updates, which the state last month scaled back to five days a week.

“DPH will continue to closely monitor COVID-19 in Massachusetts and maintains the ability to increase the type and frequency of data publication in the future if there is a need,” the state added.

One more pandemic-era staple is going by the wayside: Massachusetts health officials are ceasing the daily numbers and death reports, cutting them down to weekly data dumps.

The state Department of Public Health, which has provided daily COVID-19 case and death reports since spring 2020, issuing its last such update later today before starting with weekly updates next Thursday, July 14.

“As the pandemic has continued to evolve, so too have our data needs,” said state Epidemiologist Dr. Catherine Brown, according to a statement. “The changes taking effect next week are part of our ongoing efforts to adapt to the pandemic and focus on the metrics most useful at a given time. The updated reporting reflects the current status of COVID-19 and its impact.”

The state made its final dialy dispatch on Friday, announcing 1,850 new cases and 19 deaths as the percent positivity continued to nudge back up, now at 7.87% as trends remained mixed.

The state health officials say they’re also updating the data dashboard with census-updated numbers to make ratios more accurate. They’re also chucking a bunch of what the DPH essentially characterized as vestigial data points, including higher-education tests broken out as their own category, as well as sections for contact tracing — a practice that was much touted early in the pandemic but has long since gone out the window as prevalence increased.

“Due to changes in case investigation and contact tracing practices, these data are no longer representative of the current situation,” the state wrote, adding that higher-ed facilities no longer were doing the large amounts of testing that they once were requiring.

The state will keep doing a weekly vaccination report, too, now publishing each Wednesday rather than Thursday. The updates for daily number of doses, which currently run Monday to Friday, will just be updated in the weekly chunk, too.

“While we all have become used to checking the numbers every day, monitoring trends over time is actually the most useful way to apply the COVID-19 data,” Dr. Helen Boucher, Interim Dean of Tufts University School of Medicine and member of the Governor’s Medical Advisory Board, said in the statement.

Residents early in the pandemic watched for the daily reports, issued then seven days a week, closely as the brutal first surge of the virus swamped the area and ground life to a halt. News outlets raced to post the much-viewed updates as news stories online and on local TV news.

But as the pandemic has worn on and surges have become less deadly, focus has lessened on the daily updates, which the state last month scaled back to five days a week.

“DPH will continue to closely monitor COVID-19 in Massachusetts and maintains the ability to increase the type and frequency of data publication in the future if there is a need,” the state added.

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