The COVID Tracking Project Part 1

The COVID Tracking Project Part 1

By The Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX

The United States has 4% of the world’s population but 16% of COVID-19 deaths. This series investigates the failures by federal agencies that led to over 1 million Americans dying from COVID-19 and what that tells us about the nation’s ability to fight the next pandemic. Epidemiologist Jessica Malaty Rivera is the host for this three-part series.  

The first episode takes us back to February 2020, when reporters Rob Meyer and Alexis Madrigal from The Atlantic were trying to find solid data about the rising pandemic. They published a story that revealed a scary truth: The U.S. didn’t know where COVID-19 was spreading because few tests were available. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also didn’t have public data to tell citizens or federal agencies how many people were infected or where the outbreaks were happening.  

Their reporting led to a massive volunteer effort by hundreds of people across the country who gathered the data themselves. The COVID Tracking Project became a de facto source of data amid the chaos of COVID-19. With case counts rising quickly, volunteers scrambled to document tests, hospitalizations and deaths in an effort to show where the virus was and who was dying.

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