Why We Redesigned the Virus Trackers

Here’s what’s new on our coronavirus tracking pages.

Credit...The New York Times

In the coming days, we are rolling out major changes to the virus tracking pages that have been published multiple times a day for the past 13 months. These pages are a popular daily source of information for our readers, so we want to make sure everyone continues to find the information they need.

First, a few thoughts on why we’re making these changes:

We are at a different stage in the pandemic, with more data available than ever before. We first published the U.S. tracking map in March 2020, showing where the first 118 cases had been reported. As time went on, our team of reporters, designers and developers continued to add new features for tracking the most important metrics.

Now, with this redesign, we have created a single destination for tracking the coronavirus and helping readers navigate the pandemic. We have added data on vaccinations, state restrictions, hospitalizations, tests and more. This is similar to the effort we made in January to publish local risk pages with the best available county-level data. We have made changes to improve page speed and performance, too.

ImageThe number of currently hospitalized Covid-19 patients and the share of the population that has been vaccinated are now included for states and counties.
Credit...The New York Times

We have rebuilt the project to make it easier to publish and maintain. We built the original virus tracking pages using our normal infrastructure for publishing interactive stories and have since outgrown the scale that this system was built to handle. We needed to make a change to continue publishing this data. This project has had more than 150 contributors, and the number of updates has far surpassed 1,000. The size of the team and volume of the work make it one of the most ambitious projects in the history of The Times. So we rebuilt the pages with a new architecture and publishing system to handle the demands of the current project.

Now, here’s what’s new, and how to find the data you want:

We are prioritizing seven-day averages instead of daily counts. Since the earliest days of the pandemic, there have been issues and inconsistencies with the figures reported each day by state and local officials. Lately, official reports of cases and deaths have become even more erratic. Our team of reporters has worked tirelessly to stay on top of these methodology changes, database failures and other problems. We are showing averages in more places to give a better impression of the recent trends. You can still see daily reported figures for each metric by interacting with the daily curve charts below the maps and tables.

Vaccinations and restrictions are now featured. Data from our popular pages that track vaccinations and state restrictions and mask mandates will be incorporated into the state pages, allowing you to see more detail about your state at a single destination.

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Credit...The New York Times

Our tables include more data and are focused on the latest trends. The tables now show the change in the daily average cases over the last 14 days for every place, plus data on hospitalizations and vaccinations (we expect to add data on testing soon.) This is the best place to see how countries, states and counties compare with one another for different metrics, including per capita measures for each data point. To see which states and counties have rising or falling case numbers, click the 14-day change label. This will sort these places in a manner similar to the grid of state and country case curves on the previous version of these pages.

The New York Times is committed to publishing this data to help readers navigate the pandemic. We will continue to make these tracking pages available to all readers, and we hope you will find these new features useful. Check out our F.A.Q. page for more information about this data, and subscribe to the Covid Tracker below to get regular updates on the vaccine rollout, case counts and local policies.