Good-government reform groups on Tuesday urged Gov. Kathy Hochul's administration to publish more than 100 datasets related to COVID-19 to help the public better understand the pandemic and ongoing public health crisis.
The call for the increased transparency from the 10 organizations, led by Reinvent Albany, comes as the new governor has pledged to have a better track record on government transparency following criticism of former Gov. Andrew Cuomo that information was kept a secret or hard to reach.
New York City keeps a portal of datasets that can be used to track pandemic progress on a range of issues, as does California.
"We emphasize that this public health data is owned and paid for by the public and should be published as a matter of course," the groups wrote in a letter to Hochul. "Many of the missing datasets can be published quickly and are already provided by other states and localities. New York City’s COVID-19 portal allows the public to view datasets in easy-to-understand charts and provides a quick download link to the data beneath each graphic. California’s open data portal also includes a diverse range of COVID-19 datasets on topics ranging from vaccine progress to PPE logistics."
Earlier this year, the Cuomo administration was urged to reveal more information related to the pandemic, from infection and vaccination rates to nursing home data. Of the 123 datasets the groups called for, only 14 are currently available as open data, and 64 other datasets that cannot be easily used for analysis.
Cuomo's office came under scrutiny and later federal investigation for how his administration reported nursing home fatalities and where residents died during the pandemic.
"The past year has greatly tested New Yorkers’ faith in our state government," the letter states. "We believe that publishing COVID-19 data in an easily findable and usable form would be a very public way for you to underline your commitment to transparency and rebuild trust."