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Smart Talk Wednesday; COVID survey collects extensive data; Swing state Wisconsin look-in; Trusting News

  • Scott LaMar
  • Merideth Bucher


Analyzing the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic comes down to the numbers.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health reports the numbers daily: the number of positives, hospitalized, tested, deaths and so on. Data is driving our understanding of the impact and the government’s response.

In April, Carnegie Mellon University’s Delphi Research Group began collecting real-time expanded data from around the country through a survey distributed using social media outreach. To date, that survey has reached and collected information from more than one million people in the U.S.

Anecdotally, this is the largest survey ever taken in the U.S., outside of the census.

The CMU survey collects information on COVID-19 symptoms, providing county-level information about the coronavirus pandemic that is “updated continuously and available from no other source.” It has now expanded to include questions about how people are responding to public health recommendations, such as mask use, and access to COVID-19 testing.

Joining Smart Talk to detail the initiative are Zachary Chase Lipton, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Operations Research and Machine Learning, Tepper School of Business, CMU and Alex Reinhart, Ph.D., Assistant teaching Professor in Statistics & Data Science, CMU.

Also on Smart Talk Wednesday, we continue to talk with journalists in swing states about the presidential election.

Tom Zalaski, an anchor at WFRV-TV in Green Bay and host of the program Newsmakers Sunday, joins us to discuss the presidential race in Wisconsin.


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