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Your Neighborhood Might Be a Coronavirus Hot Spot, but New York City Refuses to Release the Data

Intrepid ProPublica muckracker Justin Elliott examines the lack of data New York City is releasing about Coronavirus cases. His main complaint is that NYC isn’t releasing neighborhood level data, a practice many other cities are doing including Los Angeles, Singapore, Soeul and many more.

The lack of detailed information makes it difficult for medical workers, journalists and the public to establish whether particular communities in the city are being harder hit and to get beyond anecdotal accounts of which of the city’s roughly 60 hospitals are already overwhelmed.

Dr. Michael Augenbraun, director of the infectious diseases division at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in central Brooklyn, said that while he knows the city has its hands full, the data could be useful for doctors. “Everyone is struggling to make sense of this evolving picture,” he said. “I think it would be useful to us in the hospitals to get a detailed situational appraisal, to know how much of the burden we are confronting.”

Source: Your Neighborhood Might Be a Coronavirus Hot Spot, but New York City Refuses to Release the Data — ProPublica

Steal Another City’s Study | NextCity

With more than 90,000 governments — think state, county, city — making up the U.S. government, it makes no sense that so many of them operate as silos. A new project wants to address this where issues of operational efficiency are concerned.

The Operational Excellence in Government project, from the Harvard Kennedy School’s Ash Center, “identifies operational efficiency themes across state and local governments” by pulling from over 200 state and local reports on efficiency — and allowing officials to see them side-by-side, or search them by topic. According to the project’s website, it aims to pinpoint cost saving opportunities, recommend proven efficiencies and provide implementation guidance. In short, it’s a kind of meta-report — about a bunch of reports.

On the front end, though, it also provides a searchable database, where officials can use keywords to see research that’s been done on any given topic, or search umbrella topics. Click on “Operations,” for example, and you’ll see related research about federal procurement and contractor team formation. Go to “Workforce Management” and you’ll get studies addressing things like public employee labor-management relations and public sector pension plans.

“No one argues against operational excellence and yet it is seldom the subject of headlines — there is typically a lot more attention paid to the ‘what’ of government than the ‘how,” an intro to a report on the project reads. “The opportunity is significant — a study by the consulting firm Accenture estimates that $995 billion in value could be created by 2025 if government in the US achieved a 1 percent annual efficiency gain in operations.”

The project was led by Stephen Goldsmith, director of the Innovations in American Government Awards program and a professor at Harvard Kennedy School. The full report can be viewed here, and the database is available to explore here.

Source: Steal Another City’s Study