Welcome to the COVKID Compass
Updated: Jun 29, 2020
The COVKID Compass is a new blog from the Coronavirus in Kids Tracking and Education (COVKID) Project team. In this blog we promise to bring you easy-to-understand, unbiased, and up-to-date scientific explanations of all aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic in children and teenagers.
This pandemic has engendered a surge of scientific productivity in a very short time period. While this rapidity and intensity of enquiry is necessary – as we like to say, pandemics never take the weekend off – the pace and volume of scientific, quasi-scientific, and journalistic output have created their own sets of problems. From myriads of websites to thousands of non-peer-reviewed preprint research articles, a dense forest of writing, data visualizations, and policy debates has grown and continues to thicken on a daily basis.
At COVKID, we believe that COVID-19 policy-making should be evidence-based, and that new scientific evidence needs to be critically evaluated before it influences policy. We hope to be a reliable compass for everyone seeking to understand the causes, epidemiology, and outcomes of COVID-19 in children.
The bedrock of health science is comprehensive disease surveillance – without accurate and comprehensive description of cases, hospitalizations, intensive care admissions, and deaths, we can’t move forward with rigorous research on causes, prevention, mitigation, and policies. Since April 30, 2020, our team has been collating the latest surveillance data on COVID-19 from state health departments and hospital registries for children and teens. We developed our State Data Quality Report Card to highlight deficits in state data and encourage more comprehensive and standardized reporting.
What we intend NOT to do is let the COVKID Compass be a forum for opinion pieces. Even in the major medical and public health journals, the ratio of editorials and opinion pieces to actual empirical investigations seems to have increased quite a bit. While there is a role in public discourse for expert opinion, it ranks at the bottom of the list on hierarchies of “strength of scientific evidence” to inform public health and healthcare decision-making. In other words, a consensus of opinions is still just opinions.
So, although we won’t take a side on policy debates, we WILL try and help you sort out the data and evidence that impact those policy debates. For children and teens especially, the looming policy decisions (e.g. if, when, and how to re-open schools) are particularly thorny and the hard, empirical evidence on what works and doesn’t work is particularly thin.
While the main geographic focus of the COVKID Compass will be the United States, we plan to invite guest posts from international experts and frontline public health workers to provide global perspectives on the pandemic’s impact on children. Viruses know no borders, and everyone benefits from sharing information on what works and what doesn’t.
We welcome your questions, feedback, and suggestions for blog post topics. While we may not reply individually, we promise to read and discuss all feedback. Please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.