Covid-19 Data Is a Mess. We Need a Way to Make Sense of It.

Jan 13, 2021

Our Johns Hopkins University Centers for Civic Impact Executive Director Beth Blauer along with Dr. Jennifer Nuzzo, associate professor of epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, wrote an op-ed in The New York Times on November 23, 2020.


The United States is more than eight months into the pandemic and people are back waiting in long lines to be tested as coronavirus infections surge again. And yet there is still no federal standard to ensure testing results are being uniformly reported. Without uniform results, it is impossible to track cases accurately or respond effectively.

We test to identify coronavirus infections in communities. We can tell if we are casting a wide enough net by looking at test positivity — the percentage of people whose results are positive for the virus. The metric tells us whether we are testing enough or if the transmission of the virus is outpacing our efforts to slow it.

Read more of this op-ed at The New York Times.