City Data and Pandemic Response

Data’s role in the pandemic

City efforts to expand innovations in data and technology have proven crucial in responding to the COVID pandemic. From mapping localized infection rates and predicting hospitalizations, to contact tracing among infected residents, to consolidating transit routes, cities use data to drive policy responses and inform residents.

Communicating data in a way that is understandable and influences individuals’ actions is critical during a pandemic. Bloomberg’s What Works Cities team gathered resources on how city leaders should use messaging for public health and sharing data.

Data can provide point-in-time information for residents on services such as free testing, food pantries, or meal sites. In Baltimore, MD, City Council President Brandon Scott created this asset map to track immediately available resources.

Cities of all sizes can access widely-available open data tools, or can adapt existing data in new ways. Larger cities have led efforts to update dashboards with daily infection and resource counts that inform citywide decision-making, such as Los Angeles model. The Burlington, VT Analytics Team developed a dashboard to synthesize key information about the impacts of the pandemic, aid local officials in data-driven decision-making, and help inform residents about local response efforts.

Connecting beyond City Hall

As cities have moved into new phases of re-opening, data is the foundation of informing shifts in policies and ensures two-way communications between businesses and city leaders. Memphis’ framework tool allows businesses to assess their readiness for opening. Businesses can easily access information on requirements in specific phases of opening, and protocols for their sector.

And while contact tracing involves in-depth conversations between people, the ability to quickly and easily share the information collected is vital to its success in containing outbreaks. The City of Chicago is connecting with universities and community organizations to create a Contact Tracing Corps and employ up to 600 people from communities most impacted by COVID.

Check out more on how data and technology can transform your city here.

Our COVID tracker provides a curated list of best practices for cities.

Learn More

Resources from Partners

Our round-up of the most helpful resources for mayors as they respond to and recover from the pandemic:

Productive Places in a Post-Pandemic Era: A Roadmap for Cities and Counties
It’s possible that COVID-19’s combined social and financial impact will inspire and enable positive and fundamental change. That would mean political, civic, and citizen leadership learning from what came before it and committing to taking a long-term, strategic approach to building strong communities.

International Public Safety Data Institute – new system capabilities
The National Fire Operations Reporting System (NFORS) provides real-time information on local fire department COVID19 response including related call volume, hot spots in the city,  addresses frequently attended for COVID1, responder exposures, and PPE burn rate.  The data system is being used to deliver information to the CDC for PPE use rates and now is adapting to analyze the call volume and other information in cities facing civil unrest.

Cities are being challenged in entirely new ways, and  necessary tools to assess current conditions, impacts being created, and inform decisions for moving forward.  Polco and National Resource Center (NRC) are happy to provide special pricing for Mayors Innovation Project member communities for a suite of professionally developed COVID19 impact assessment tools and scientific surveys to help with the significant issues being confronted.  The special pricing provides for up to 20% savings.  Here is what is being offered.

Urban Leap
UrbanLeap has created platforms to connect CIOs and Innovation Leaders.