What Happens When the World ’s Most Popular COVID-19 Dashboard Can’t Get Data?

One Monday in late February 2020, Lauren Gardner was working frantically. The website she’d been managing around the clock for the last month—which tracked cases of an emerging respiratory disease called COVID-19, and presented the spread in maps and charts—was, all of a sudden, getting inundated with visitors and kept crashing. As Gardner, an associate professor of engineering at Johns Hopkins University (JHU), struggled to get the site online again, an official in the Trump Administration falsely claimed on Twitter that JHU had deliberately censored the information. “Seems like bad timing to stop helping the world with this (previously) useful resource,” read the tweet from Ken Cuccinelli, then the Acting Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security. “Here’s hoping it goes back up soon.” [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] It was a hypocritical allegation coming from an administration official. At the time, President Donald Trump was downplaying the virus’s potential to spread, and government agencies weren’t making public any of their own comprehensive data to support that position. What’s more, federal agencies were looking to JHU to find out what was going on. When former Vice President Mike Pence toured the government’s COVID-19 operations center the same week of the accusatory tweet, a huge projection of Gardner’s website illuminated one wall. The worldwide case count, glowing bright red,...
Source: TIME: Health - Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Tags: Uncategorized COVID-19 healthscienceclimate Source Type: news

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