On March 10, after 3 years the Hopkins Coronavirus Research Center (CRC) run by Johns Hopkins University (JHU) stopped collecting and reporting data on the pandemic. It comes now because only New York, Arkansas, and Puerto Rico report daily data and, with the rise of at-home rapid tests, the flimsy infrastructure that existed to collect the data has become even more unreliable.
The dashboard was first created by JHU professor Lauren Gardner and grad student Ensheng Dong because “there was not a single dedicated COVID-19 tracking website by a public health authority anywhere,” said professor Gardner. And yet it took only one day to create the dashboard.
It’s abysmal to see that it took two individuals on their own to create a way to collect and report on the pandemic where world governments failed. And we are still in a time period when the pandemic hasn’t gone away and, with the rapid spread of bird flu in mammals, we are at a greater risk of another pandemic. And yet this insufficient infrastructure that has been created to deal with global pandemics is being dismantled and replaced with at-home rapid tests sold by corporations for profit.
This is the time to expand and build more resilient public health infrastructure, not destroy it. The Covid pandemic showed us that the people in power were committed to prioritize profits over our lives and now, with the end of the Hopkins dashboard, they’ve done it again. If we want a world that puts our health before profit, we can only rely on ourselves.