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Covering Coronavirus: What the Data Tells Us

We have been grappling with the coronavirus pandemic for months now, yet neither COVID-19 nor our coverage of it is anywhere close to being over. How can we continue to report on this story in novel ways that inform our communities, while steering clear of sensationalism? In this webinar, we’ll look broadly at the changing landscape of data on COVID-19, and specifically at data sources that can aid informed, in-depth reporting on the overall trend of the pandemic, the infrastructure needed to survive it, and the people most vulnerable to it. Kaiser Health News data editor Liz Lucas will walk through data sources on case counts, deaths, and demographics; on nursing homes, which have been particularly hard hit, and hospitals. We’ll also look at sources on the most vulnerable populations: the poor, those with inadequate housing, those with preexisting conditions. We’ll talk about what data exists nationally, and what data you should pursue locally.

WHEN: May 6, 2020, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. PT / 1-2 p.m. ET

REGISTER: [Now closed -- watch above]

Find the presentation's slides here.


Elizabeth Lucas is data editor for Kaiser Health News, where she specializes in data analysis and reporting for the KHN enterprise team. She and a colleague were finalists for the 2020 Pulitzer Prize in Investigative Journalism for exposing predatory bill collection by the University of Virginia Health System that relentlessly squeezed low-income patients—many into bankruptcy—forcing the non-profit, state-run hospital to change its tactics. She came to Kaiser Health News from Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE), where she spent four years training and supporting data journalists around the world as the NICAR Data Library director. Previously she worked as a data reporter on health and the environment for the Center for Public Integrity. She has a master’s degree from the Missouri School of Journalism.


Webinars are free and made possible by The Commonwealth Fund and the National Institute for Health Care Management Foundation.  

Links & resources

Case counts and deaths

NYTimes Github page:

LA Times data:

NYTimes Upshot analysis:

CDC’s provisional death data:

(and related Washington Post article:


Covid Testing Project:

Demographics, details, vulnerable communities

Examples of local data (including demographics, zipcode level, hospitalizations

-        Shelby County, TN

-        Columbia / Boone County, MO

-        State of Illinois

-        State of Maryland

CDC data on race / ethnicity:

Data on Black Lives:

CDC Social Vulnerability Index:

County-level data on COVID risks (from KHN):

Jayme Fraser (USA Today) on vulnerable communities: 

Nursing homes, hospitals

Nursing home case counts:

Also from USA Today:

Jordan Rau’s story out of California:

CMS Nursing Home Compare:

Hospital Cost Report metrics: 

Various other sources

A list of all statewide policies:

USC webinars:

IRE webinars:

Tipsheet on the WARN Act: layoffs:

Various story recipes from Opennews

Big Local News datasets created and curated by journalists


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