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An open API for Epidemiological Data, from the Delphi research group.

Delphi’s COVIDcast API

This is the documentation of the API for accessing the Delphi’s COVID-19 Surveillance Streams (covidcast) endpoint of Delphi’s epidemiological data.

General topics not specific to any particular data source are discussed in the API overview. Such topics include: contributing, citing, and data licensing.


The base URL is:

See this documentation for details on specifying epiweeks, dates, and lists.

Data Signals

Currently, there are 7 data sources available in the API: doctor-visits, fb-survey, google-survey, ght, quidel, indicator-combination, and jhu-csse. Each of these data sources has several associated data signals: for example, for doctor-visits, includes smoothed_cli and smoothed_adj_cli. A separate COVIDcast signals document describes all available sources and signals. Furthermore, our COVIDcast site provides an interactive visualization of a select set of these data signals.



Parameter Description Type
data_source name of upstream data source (e.g., doctor-visits or fb-survey; see full list) string
signal name of signal derived from upstream data (see notes below) string
time_type temporal resolution of the signal (e.g., day, week) string
geo_type spatial resolution of the signal (e.g., county, hrr, msa, dma, state) string
time_values time unit (e.g., date) over which underlying events happened list of time values (e.g., 20200401)
geo_value unique code for each location, depending on geo_type (county -> FIPS 6-4 code, HRR -> HRR number, MSA -> CBSA code, DMA -> DMA code, state -> two-letter state code), or * for all string

The current set of signals available for each data source is returned by the covidcast_meta endpoint.


Field Description Type
result result code: 1 = success, 2 = too many results, -2 = no results integer
epidata list of results, 1 per geo/time pair array of objects
epidata[].geo_value location code, depending on geo_type string
epidata[].time_value time unit (e.g. date) over which underlying events happened integer
epidata[].direction trend classifier (+1 -> increasing, 0 -> steady or not determined, -1 -> decreasing) integer
epidata[].value value (statistic) derived from the underlying data source float
epidata[].stderr approximate standard error of the statistic with respect to its sampling distribution, null when not applicable float
epidata[].sample_size number of “data points” used in computing the statistic, null when not applicable float
message success or error message string

Note: result code 2, “too many results”, means that the number of results you requested was greater than the API’s maximum results limit. Results will be returned, but not all of the results you requested. API clients should check the results code, and should consider breaking up their requests across multiple API calls, such as by breaking a request for a large time interval into multiple requests for smaller time intervals.

Geographic Coding

The geo_value field specifies the geographic location whose estimate is being reported. County-level estimates are reported by the county FIPS code. All FIPS codes are reported using pre-2015 FIPS code assignments, except for FIPS codes used by the jhu-csse source. These are reported exactly as JHU reports their data; see below.

Other possible geo_types include:

Some signals are not available for all geo_types, since they may be reported from their original sources with different levels of aggregation.

Small Sample Sizes and “Megacounties”

Most sources do not report the same amount of data for every county; for example, the survey sources rely on survey responses each day, and many counties may have comparatively few survey responses. We do not report individual county estimates when small sample sizes would make estimates unreliable or would allow identification of respondents, violating privacy and confidentiality agreements. Additional considerations for specific signals are discussed in the source and signal documentation.

In each state, we collect together the data from all counties with insufficient data to be individually reported. These counties are combined into a single “megacounty”. For example, if only five counties in a state have sufficient data to be reported, the remaining counties will form one megacounty representing the rest of that state. As sample sizes vary from day to day, the counties composing the megacounty can vary daily; the geographic area covered by the megacounty is simply the state minus the counties reported for that day.

Megacounty estimates are reported with a FIPS code ending with 000, which is never a FIPS code for a real county. For example, megacounty estimates for the state of New York are reported with FIPS code 36000, since 36 is the FIPS code prefix for New York.

FIPS Exceptions in JHU Data

At the County (FIPS) level, we report the data exactly as JHU reports their data, to prevent confusing public consumers of the data. JHU FIPS reporting matches that used in the other signals, except for the following exceptions.

New York City

New York City comprises of five boroughs:

Borough Name County Name FIPS Code
Manhattan New York County 36061
The Bronx Bronx County 36005
Brooklyn Kings County 36047
Queens Queens County 36081
Staten Island Richmond County 36085

Data from all five boroughs are reported under New York County, FIPS Code 36061. The other four boroughs are included in the dataset and show up in our API, but they should be uniformly zero.

All NYC counts are mapped to the MSA with CBSA ID 35620, which encompasses all five boroughs. All NYC counts are mapped to HRR 303, which intersects all five boroughs (297 also intersects the Bronx, 301 also intersects Brooklyn and Queens, but absent additional information, we chose to leave all counts in 303).

Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City intersects the following four counties, which themselves report confirmed case and deaths data:

County Name FIPS Code
Jackson County 29095
Platte County 29165
Cass County 29037
Clay County 29047

Data from Kansas City is given its own dedicated line, with FIPS code 70003. This is how JHU encodes their data. However, the data in the four counties that Kansas City intersects is not necessarily zero.

For the mapping to HRR and MSA, the counts for Kansas City are dispersed to these four counties in equal proportions.

Dukes and Nantucket Counties, Massachusetts

The counties of Dukes and Nantucket report their figures together, and we (like JHU) list them under FIPS Code 70002. Here are the FIPS codes for the individual counties:

County Name FIPS Code
Dukes County 25007
Nantucket County 25019

For the mapping to HRR and MSA, the counts for Dukes and Nantucket are dispersed to the two counties in equal proportions.

The data in the individual counties is expected to be zero.

Mismatched FIPS Codes

Finally, there are two FIPS codes that were changed in 2015 (see the Census Bureau documentation), leading to mismatch between us and JHU. We report the data using the FIPS code used by JHU, again to promote consistency and avoid confusion by external users of the dataset. For the mapping to MSA, HRR, these two counties are included properly.

County Name State “Our” FIPS JHU FIPS
Oglala Lakota South Dakota 46113 46102
Kusilvak Alaska 02270 02158

Example URLs

Delphi’s COVID-19 Surveillance Streams from Facebook Survey CLI on 2020-04-06 to 2010-04-10 (county 06001)

  "result": 1,
  "epidata": [
      "geo_value": "06001",
      "time_value": 20200407,
      "direction": null,
      "value": 1.1293550689064,
      "stderr": 0.53185454111042,
      "sample_size": 281.0245
  "message": "success"

Delphi’s COVID-19 Surveillance Streams from Facebook Survey CLI on 2020-04-06 (all counties)*

Code Samples

Libraries are available for CoffeeScript, JavaScript, Python, and R. The following samples show how to import the library and fetch Delphi’s COVID-19 Surveillance Streams from Facebook Survey CLI for county 06001 and days 20200401 and 20200405-20200414 (11 days total).

CoffeeScript (in Node.js)

# Import
{Epidata} = require('./delphi_epidata')
# Fetch data
callback = (result, message, epidata) ->
  console.log(result, message, epidata?.length)
Epidata.covidcast(callback, 'fb-survey', 'raw_cli', 'day', 'county', [20200401, Epidata.range(20200405, 20200414)], '06001')

JavaScript (in a web browser)

<!-- Imports -->
<script src="jquery.js"></script>
<script src="delphi_epidata.js"></script>
<!-- Fetch data -->
  var callback = function(result, message, epidata) {
    console.log(result, message, epidata != null ? epidata.length : void 0);
  Epidata.covidcast(callback, 'fb-survey', 'raw_cli', 'day', 'county', [20200401, Epidata.range(20200405, 20200414)], '06001');


Optionally install the package from PyPI using pip(env):

pip install delphi-epidata

Otherwise, place from this repo next to your python script.

# Import
from delphi_epidata import Epidata
# Fetch data
res = Epidata.covidcast('fb-survey', 'raw_cli', 'day', 'county', [20200401, Epidata.range(20200405, 20200414)], '06001')
print(res['result'], res['message'], len(res['epidata']))


# Import
# Fetch data
res <- Epidata$covidcast('fb-survey', 'raw_cli', 'day', 'county', list(20200401, Epidata$range(20200405, 20200414)), '06001')
cat(paste(res$result, res$message, length(res$epidata), "\n"))