COVID-19 Memo from a News Hound

News reports about the domestic and global COVID-19 pandemic can be overwhelming and lack context. I write a newsletter at the end-of-day from the Seattle-area. Everything is fact-based; all reported cases have links.

My goal: protect your time and your psyche (“did I miss something??!?”) by providing relevant news about coronavirus/SARS-CoV-2 that you might not see/hear/watch otherwise. In addition, I write short, sense-making essays.

Initially, I visited every state department of health site to source case data. Now I use the COVID Tracking Project data as my initial source, but I manually check each state when the daily case number is “zero.” Some states now report infrequently (e.g., Kansas) or do not report on the weekend (e.g., Connecticut and Rhode Island).

For global data, I use the Johns Hopkins dashboard. State statistics are a day or two behind Johns Hopkins; CDC and WHO also have reporting lags.

But it’s the per capita trends that are key, despite news organization focus on the day’s scary-big number.

When this newsletter launched on 01 March 2020, from the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak (greater Seattle), the news environment was far different from what it is today (14 June 2020). I now occasionally post a week-in-review or numbers-focused issue (because I need to sleep). Effective the end of July, I am posting approximately every-other day after a gap due to health issues.

I’m still debating how to provide public data for the multi-day issues (e.g., 26 July 2020).

Portions of a daily issue may appear as a blog post at WiredPen.

About me

I’m a journalist and educator (and economist by education more than practice) who has been involved with public policy since high school, with a historic emphasis on environmental and agricultural policy. This newsletter started as a “cheat sheet” to help me create context about this pandemic for my own understanding. Friends said it was helpful, so I’ve made it public.

If there’s something you’d like to read about, please send me a message on Twitter @kegill . Also, feel free to comment on a newsletter post here on SubStack.

Learn more about me