The COVID Tracking Project will stop collecting data on March 7th

With federal agencies stepping up, the volunteer group feels it can take a step back.

The COVID Tracking Project

The COVID Tracking Project is coming to an end. On March 7th, the one-year anniversary of the initiative, it will publish its final daily update and stop collecting new data. Documentation and archival work will continue, but soon after the project will come to an official end sometime in May.

The COVID Tracking Project came out at a time when it was nearly impossible to get consistent data on the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in the US. From the start, the group has maintained that it is the responsibility of the federal government to collect and standardize public health data from all 56 states and territories. Now that it seems the CDC and other public health agencies are up to the task, the volunteer organization is more than happy to take a back seat.

“We began the work out of necessity and planned to do it for a couple of weeks at most, always in the expectation that the federal public health establishment would make our work obsolete,” co-founders Erin Kissane and Alexis Madrigal wrote. “We have seen persuasive evidence that the CDC and HHS are now both able and willing to take on the country’s massive deficits in public health data infrastructure and to offer the best available data and science communication in the interim.”

One recent development the organization cites for its decision includes the recent restart of daily COVID-19 briefings. The CDC’s improved COVID Tracker, which now includes data on county-level testing, is another positive move forward, according to the organization. It’s hard to overstate the significance of the COVID Tracking Project. Not only was it widely cited by academics, the media and politicians, it also helped inform policy, with the group’s data making its way into proposed House legislation.