Previous reports circulated among federal and state officials but were not published, but with the new White House’s COVID-19 team calling the change an effort to improve transparency and the collective understanding of the disease, this has changed. “The Biden Administration just released all the data that was previously only being shared secretly with states on the pandemic,” stated Andy Slavitt, Biden’s senior adviser for COVID response.
But the report includes other statistics that New Jersey has not made readily available.
“Some of these numbers existed, but the amount of work you’d have to go through to pull it out of several different files made it very difficult,” said Dr. Stephanie Silvera, Professor in the Public Health Department.
The report said that 28% of nursing facilities had recorded at least one new COVID-19 infection among residents, and 46% recorded at least one among staff, both slight declines from the week before. Thirteen percent of facilities recorded at least one coronavirus death, also a slight decline.
Eighteen hospitals had supply shortages and nine had staffing shortages. Personal protective equipment like masks, gloves and gowns were short in some hospitals, with about 15% reporting stockpiles of three days or less of those supplies.
Dr. Silvera said that information offers new insight into already known potential areas of concern, but fits within the general understanding of where the disease stands.
“There’s no smoking gun here that I notice, so I can’t imagine why it was a secret report,” Dr. Silvera noted.