Governing: In a recent New York Times op-ed, performance-data pioneer Beth Blauer and epidemiologist Jennifer Nuzzo labeled the state of the nation's COVID-19 data as "a mess." Eight months into the pandemic, they wrote, "there is still no federal standard to ensure testing results are being uniformly reported." Efforts like Johns Hopkins' Coronavirus Resource Center try to standardize where possible, but overall the national numbers are inconsistent. This hinders policymakers' ability to smartly allocate resources, such as vaccines, to where they will do the most good.
The pandemic demonstrates why investing in collecting, standardizing and sharing data among levels of government — not just pandemic data, but data of all kinds — has moved from a nice thing to do to an urgent priority for states and localities.
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