New York reporters Candice Choi, Health & Science, and Jim Mustian, federal law enforcement, used the power of the AP to highlight an almost unfathomable fact – the federal government and many states have not publicly tracked coronavirus infections and deaths in individual nursing homes – and their story was followed very quickly by policy changes. A day after their story appeared, New York announced it would indeed release a list of individual nursing homes and how many deaths each one had. And less than a week later, the federal government announced it would begin the same process.

Their story – with key help from reporter Bernard Condon and news researcher Randy R. Herschaft – had voices from public health experts and others stressing that the lack of tracking and transparency has been a major blind spot, and that publicizing outbreaks could not only alert nearby communities and anguished relatives but also help officials see where to focus testing and other safety measures.