Health

Previously ‘hidden’ weekly state COVID reports released by Biden officials

Weekly state COVID-19 reports ‘hidden’ by the Trump administration are released for the first time under Biden – and reveal that Arizona, South Carolina and California are the nation’s WORST hotspots

  • Trump administration officials sent states weekly COVID-19 reports 
  • Confidential but often leaked reports painted  a more dire picture of the pandemic than officials painted in White House briefings 
  • President Biden pledged transparency and to release weekly reports to the public
  • The first previously ‘hidden’ set of reports was released by the HHS on Thursday, and announced in a tweet from the White House COVID-19 data coordinator 

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For months, the Trump administration sent weekly updates to state officials that revealed how bad COVID-19 really was in their jurisdictions, but told them the reports were confidential communications. 

Following on President Biden’s promise of transparency, the same reports were unsealed and publicly released for the first time on Thursday.

Arizona, South Carolina and California are the nation’s worst hotspots, the report reveals. Each saw between more than 750 new infections per 100,000 residents last week. 

The new reports reveal a national map that is still mostly in the red – meaning 200 or more people are dying per capita in a week in most counties. 

Arizona, South Carolina and California are the nation’s worst hotspots, the report reveals. Each saw between more than 750 new infections per 100,000 residents last week (dark red)

It’s been a dismal month for South Carolina, which has reported 27,388 new infections in the past week, according to Johns Hopkins University.  

The state hit record high case and death rates the week prior, and today confirmed the nation’s first case of the more infectious, potentially vaccine-resistant South African coronavirus variant. 

Pennsylvania joined Arizona as the two states with the highest one-week death tolls between January 16 and January 22. Each saw 15.1 or more new fatalities for every 100,000 people. 

The White House expressed cautious optimism that the pandemic may be plateauing in the US on Wednesday, but also warned that the improvements are delicate. 

The new reports reveal a national fatality map that is still mostly in the red - meaning 200 or more people are dying per capita in a week in most counties.

The new reports reveal a national fatality map that is still mostly in the red – meaning 200 or more people are dying per capita in a week in most counties.

And the CDC predicts that more than 80,000 additional Americans could die of COVID-19 by February 20.  

But there are bright spots of declining infections and deaths, where a month or two ago there was nothing but deep red, symbolizing surging infections and deaths across the nation. 

Although the Trump administration sent the reports confidentially to states, they were frequently leaked. 

They contained dire warnings – like ‘unprecedented spread’ of coronavirus, during periods when the White House was publicly assuring Americans that the pandemic was under control – or, at least, not wildly out of control. 

‘We are now sharing previously hidden weekly COVID-19 state profile reports with the public,’ said newly-minted White House COVID-19 data director Cyrus Shahpar in a tweet. 

The data is now posted online and ostensibly will be for every future week. 

Conspicuously missing is the descriptive text warning which states were at the cliff’s edge, or when the spread across the nation as a whole was beyond containment, as was the case in the summer and fall. 

Instead graphics show states very much in the throes of the pandemic with high case rates, but improvements over the past week and months. 

According to the report, 38 states and territories were still seeing 200 to 499 new cases per every 100,000 residents per week between January 16 and January 22. 

Arizona, South Carolina, California and Rhode Island were seeing more than 500 new cases per capita. 

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