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Coronavirus data in the United States: frequently asked questions


What is the source of this data?

Since the end of January, The Times has been tracking coronavirus cases and deaths when they are announced using data released by countries, states and local health officials. Times staff work around the clock to create, verify and maintain this data.

March

April

May

June

July

August

Seven.

Oct.

Nov.

New cases

7 day average

Case 11.9 million 187,428 + 73%
Death 253,448 1 962 + 63%
Hospitalized 80,698 + 50%

Day with data report anomaly.

Hospitalization data from the Covid Tracking Project; The 14-day change trends use 7-day averages.

This data is used in Times reports and charts, sometimes as cumulative counts, new daily totals, or per capita counts.

Data on cases and deaths in the United States is publicly available on Github.

The Times also shares test and hospitalization data collected by the COVID Tracking Project, and case and death data for most countries from Johns Hopkins University.

How often are the virus tracking pages updated?

The Times virus tracking pages are updated several times a day. Most states update their data daily, although a few report less frequently. Many counties only update on weekdays.

Rhode Island, for example, doesn’t typically show up on weekends, and this trend can be seen in the daily graphical white space below. Monday or Tuesday counts may include weekend totals.

New cases reported daily in Rhode Island

March

April

May

June

July

August

Seven.

Oct.

Nov.

New cases

7 day average

Deaths reported daily in Rhode Island

March

April

May

June

July

August

Seven.

Oct.

Nov.

New deaths

7 day average

Note: The seven day average is the average of one day and the previous six days of data.

Local governments may also revise the reported number as they get new information, and may provide updated data in press releases or on social media.

Why are the numbers different from what I see in my state or county?

The Times data comes from states, counties and regional health departments. Local officials often report earlier than states, so this can be a source of variation. The Times does not use federal data for cases and deaths.

Jurisdictions typically count cases and deaths based on a person’s residence, rather than where they tested positive or died, although there are exceptions to this in Alaska, Hawaii, and Vermont. .

Regional and local counting methods may vary. To learn more about the data for a specific report, see About the data on each report page.

The Times is also making some tweaks to create a more consistent dataset across all jurisdictions. For example, some states do not include cases in correctional facilities in the county totals, and The Times includes these cases in the appropriate county when possible.

In specific situations, such as an outbreak on a cruise ship or military ship, The Times has tracked cases based on where patients were treated.

There are also variations in the way states and counties report probable cases and deaths, which are described below.

What are the probable cases and deaths, and are they included in the data?

While confirmed cases and deaths are counts of individuals whose coronavirus infections have been confirmed by a molecular laboratory test, probable cases and deaths are counts of individuals who meet criteria set by state and federal governments. , including verified exposure to the virus, common symptoms, and other test that suggested the virus.

Confirmed cases and deaths are widely seen as an undercount of the impact of the virus, so many states and counties have started reporting probable cases of the coronavirus after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released reports. instructions for doing it in April and again in August.

Not all governments report them in the same way: some only publish confirmed cases and deaths, some report confirmed and probable numbers separately, and others report a combined confirmed and probable figure. If a jurisdiction reports probable cases and deaths, these are usually presented on the health ministry’s website, although sometimes these are not clearly labeled. The Times verifies this information with authorities and includes probable cases and deaths when reported, as recommended by the CDC

Probable cases and deaths may include people who test positive from a rapid antigen test. Public health officials say cases based on antigen tests are likely undercounted across the country.

To see if a condition includes probable cases and deaths, visit the individual status pages listed at the bottom of that page.

Why doesn’t the page show how many people have recovered?

Data on the number of cured patients or currently active cases are not routinely available at the county level. The number of people who have recovered, as tracked by some states and counties, is an estimate based on the assumption that people diagnosed with Covid-19 have recovered after a certain time if they have not died. The criteria vary by state. Health officials usually don’t follow up with people to find out when they are recovering.

Why do spikes sometimes appear in the daily tables of cases and deaths?

The Times data is based on the date the cases and deaths are announced, as that is the closest real-time data to states. Governments sometimes revise the data or report a large one-day increase in cases or deaths without specifying when those cases and deaths occurred, which can lead to an irregular trend in reported daily numbers. The Times excludes these anomalies from the seven-day averages where possible.

For example, The Times noted a few anomalies in the US daily death data, which are detailed here.

New deaths reported daily in the United States

March

April

May

June

July

August

Seven.

Oct.

Nov.

Many deaths of undetermined days

New deaths

7 day average

These are days with a data reporting anomaly. Learn more here.

To see a detailed list of all reporting anomalies, visit the individual status pages listed at the bottom of this page.

Why do cumulative counts sometimes decrease?

Health authorities frequently remove or reshuffle cases and deaths after receiving new information, resulting in a slight decrease in the state and county total counts. Common reasons include eliminating duplicates or cases and deaths that turn out to involve people who live in other jurisdictions. From time to time, governments report larger declines after changing case-or-death definitions, as Massachusetts did in September.

How do Covid-19-related deaths compare to other causes of death?

The Times looked at government mortality data to determine the number of “excess deaths” that occurred this year and compared those deaths to official coronavirus death tally. This US page and this international page are updated regularly as data becomes available.

Coronavirus monitoring

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