Sources for Accurate COVID-19 Prevalence and Prevention Data

Part of Strategies

With the politicizing of some health departments under the influence of business interests that want to minimize the threat of COVID-19, our congregations have been requesting sources for accurate data on COVID-19’s transmission, spread, and prevention.

The UUA offers the following sources of information, with humility: even expert medical professionals do not fully understand this new virus yet. Our human knowledge is evolving, and as it evolves, expert guidance is open to change.

COVID-19 Prevention

In August, 2020 the British Medical Journal published Two Metres or One? What Is the Evidence for Physical Distancing in Covid-19?. It includes a grid that rates risk of transmission by type of environment, type of mask, and duration.

Staying away from risky activities is key. Georgia Tech has created a COVID-19 Event Risk Assessment Planning Tool that helps you determine what your chances are of COVID exposure at events of different sizes, given your county’s current numbers.

Aerosol spread has been identified as way COVID-19 can spread. (CDC overview). The following resources can help congregations assess the ventilation and filtering of building space.

  • This visualization from The NY Times is focused on aerosol spread in a classroom with an infected masked student is helpful in assessing room ventilation safety for those unfamiliar with this professionally. The principles of fan and air purifier placement for classrooms can be applied in other similar spaces.
  • Overview of CDC guidance on ventilation and filtration.
  • CDC linked resource from the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers on mechanical filtration and airflow. The same page contains guidance on bathroom ventilation.

COVID-19 Data

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's COVID Data Tracker offers detailed data in several areas, including testing positivity rates, hospitalization numbers, vaccination data, and community vulnerability.

Covid Act Now is a non-profit “built by a multidisciplinary team of technologists, epidemiologists, public health experts, and public policy leaders.” Their goal is “to provide the best-available local-level disease intelligence and data analysis on COVID in the U.S.” Covid Act Now includes frequently-updated data on five different indicators including positivity rates, rate of transmission, and expectations of spread for over 3000 counties in the US.

The New York Times continually updates its Coronavirus Tracker, with data on cases and deaths in counties throughout the country.