Watchdogs Urge Mayor de Blasio to Embrace Full COVID-19 Data Transparency


Bill de Blasio                        VIA EMAIL
Mayor, City Hall
New York, New York 10007

March 18, 2021

Dear Mayor de Blasio:

We encourage you and the Department of Health to establish full COVID-19 data transparency in New York City. Our recent letter to state leaders identified 121 datasets that states and localities can provide. While NYC’s COVID-19 open data has improved greatly, there are still significant gaps – for example, the number of deaths by date by zip code are still not provided, and the vaccine page does not yet include any open data. We urge the City to publish more data in an open format as soon as possible.

We appreciate you and the New York City Department of Health embracing the City’s Open Data Law and publishing NYC COVID-19 data as open data. The COVID-19 data is available in a machine-readable, open format in the City’s COVID-19 website and open data portal. This builds public trust and increases government accountability by allowing independent analysis to develop a complete view of the COVID-19 emergency and New York City’s response.

Since we wrote to you on this matter in April 2020, NYC’s COVID-19 data page has continuously improved. The COVID-19 page and open data portal now include the following as open data:

  • Hospitalization and death rates by zip code
  • Numbers for diagnostic testing and molecular tests
  • Antibody test rates by borough

Open data is vital for public health experts and journalists analyzing COVID-19 data trends. To date, the COVID-19 crisis has killed an estimated 30,471 people in New York City. We believe that by embracing full data transparency, NYC can help the public identify solutions to mitigate the crisis and save lives.

Thank you,

John Kaehny
Executive Director
Reinvent Albany

Noel Hidalgo
Executive Director

Betsy Gotbaum
Executive Director
Citizens Union of the City of New York

Susan Lerner
Executive Director
Common Cause New York

Lesley Sigall
League of Women Voters of the City of New York

David Cullier
Board President
National Freedom of Information Coalition

Diane Kennedy
New York News Publishers Association

Blair Horner
Executive Director
New York Public Interest Research Group

Julie Samuels
Executive Director


Click here to view the letter as a PDF.