5 Data Lessons from the Pandemic

By Denice Ross and Allison Plyer

Eighteen months since the Covid pandemic upended the world, and sixteen years since we learned this lesson from Hurricane Katrina, good data is the path toward an equitable recovery.

Here are 5 lessons learned from the pandemic and our careers in data and disasters:

1/ Design data to be granular enough to show which demographics and geographies are disproportionately impacted.

2/ Invest in data capacity now—to help with the current crisis and also with future shocks.

3/ Address data quality, standards, and timeliness to shed a more complete light on rapidly changing conditions and the needs of the most vulnerable.

4/ Crises exist in context. Incorporate a broad range of data into decision-making to ensure critical aspects of our society and democracy don’t get derailed. 

5/ Build partnerships and support community organizing to turn data into action. 

Read the full article here.

Pandemic to Prosperity

History has shown that large-scale crises accelerate pre-existing trends, exacerbate inequities, and permanently change societies and civic life. Large-scale disasters produce an enormous break in the status quo followed by continuous change. Recovery from the pandemic and deep economic crisis will vary across communities, and different populations will face various barriers to achieving shared prosperity.

Pandemic to Prosperity offers a comprehensive overview of the Covid-related impacts on our lives and livelihoods, governments, civic institutions, and overall well being. This report series analyzes disparate data, adding top-level insights about the implications of each indicator, what each indicator reveals, and how the indicators are interrelated. It highlights mostly state-level metrics with breakdowns by race, gender, age, and income where available, relying on both public and private data sources.

Reports are archived at PandemicToProsperity.org, and I co-authored the series from its inception to the Oct 2021 report focused on the South.

Using Data to Transform Policing in New Orleans


Last week, New Orleans held an event to preview three datasets on policing they plan to open to the general public (use of force, 911 calls for service with arrival times included, and field interview cards).  At the event, city officials worked with a group of young coders to build apps powered by this newly unlocked data.

Read more in this White House Office of Science Technology & Policy blog post by Denice Ross and U.S. Chief Data Scientist DJ Patil…

Does Open Data Build Trust? A story of Demond, police data, and his grandmother’s recycling bin


Rising ninth-grader Demond Fortenberry opened his first city data set: “Use of Force” records created by the Public Integrity Bureau at the New Orleans Police Department. As part of a three-day event engaging youth to build apps on top of soon-to-be released policing data sets, he was one of the first New Orleanians to ever see these records.

Read more of Demond’s story on the White House Medium channel

(View the email that announced this piece on the White House Blog.)