MuckRock, USA TODAY and Documenting COVID-19 project win first place in National Headliners Awards for ‘Uncounted’ investigation
MuckRock, the USA TODAY network and the Documenting COVID-19 project, a pandemic-era journalism project funded by Columbia University’s Brown Institute for Media Innovation, won first place in the 2022 National Headliners Awards for online pandemic coverage or project.
The Documenting COVID-19 project surveyed 19 state and local health agencies, as well as scientists who work on wastewater sampling, to learn about the challenges they’re facing. We found that many states are months away, if not longer, from being able to use wastewater data to guide public health decisions, even as the rise of an omicron subvariant, BA.2, looms. Meanwhile, the CDC’s highly shared wastewater surveillance dashboard is a work in progress, and is difficult to interpret for users who might hope to follow the trends in their areas.
Four Michiganders — a taxidermist, his wife and two mink farm employees — were infected with a unique coronavirus strain connected to minks, leading Michigan health officials and the CDC to conclude they likely contracted the first known U.S. cases of so-called animal-to-human virus “spillover.”
MuckRock and the Documenting COVID-19 project are releasing new searchable CDC death data at the county level
We signed a data-use agreement with the CDC to gain access to their mortality API portal so we could gather more data, more often and provide it for others to use. To help make sense of it, you’ll find other information in the data repository, including excess mortality numbers modeled by demographers at Boston University, vaccination rates by state and a Department of Justice survey released in December detailing all medical examiner and coroner offices in the U.S.
18,849 more Chicagoans have died over the past two years than what would be expected. It goes beyond COVID. Here’s what happened, and what the future may look like.
In a normal, pre-pandemic year in Cook County, between 40,000 and 42,000 people die. But in 2020, that figure topped 52,000. In 2021 it remained high, at more than 47,000. It will likely stay unusually high in 2022.