Incomplete data likely mask rise in US Covid cases as focus on number of infections fades

Incomplete data likely mask rise in US Covid cases as focus on number of infections fades

On the face of it, US Covid cases appear to have stabilized over the past two weeks, averaging about 30,000 per day, according to an NBC News count.

But disease experts say the incomplete data is likely to mask an upward trend. In Washington, DC, for example, several prominent government figures have recently tested positive, including: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, White House Press Secretary Jane Psaki, and Attorney General Merrick Garland.

“I think we’re in the midst of a boom, I can’t tell you how big it was,” said Zeke Emmanuel, vice dean for global initiatives at the University of Pennsylvania.

BA.2 ommicron sub-component, which is now . It accounts for about 72 percent of cases in the United States, Emmanuel added. It’s more infectious than the original Omicron variant, and it’s driving that spread.

“It’s more portable. It’s there. We don’t have a lot of problems,” he said.

Emmanuel and other experts point out that a lack of testing is the main reason cases are not reported. At the height of the Omicron wave in January, the US was conducting more than two million tests per day. That’s down to an average of about 530,000 as of Monday, the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The milder the symptoms, the less likely people are to be tested or show up in the official case statistics,” said David Dowdy, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

More people now have access to rapid home tests that are either free or covered by insurance, and most of these test results are not reported to state health departments or the CDC.

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“Gradually case numbers and testing are becoming poor indicators because we’re not catching up with everyone in the system,” said Dr. Jonathan Quick, an assistant professor at the Duke Institute for Global Health.

However, some local data reveals sharp increases recently. Average COVID cases are up 80 percent in the past two weeks in Nebraska, 75 percent in Arizona, 58 percent in New York and 55 percent in Massachusetts. Sanitation Control Likewise, he noted, infections are increasing in Colorado, Ohio and Washington, among other countries.

But some experts believe it is no longer necessary to detect every case now that infections have often been mild for vaccinated people. Going forward, Dodi said, it makes sense for health officials and eager citizens alike to pay attention to hospital treatment. Center for Disease Control. Revised guidelines for concealment It really depends on the number of hospital admissions at the county and capacity level.

“We’re certainly not trying to track the number of flu cases or colds,” he said. “If we see an increase in cases but no increase in severe cases, I think it’s a very good question, does that matter?”

As he travels, Kwik said, he monitors local vaccination rates and the number of hospitalizations to assess his risks. However, hospitalization lags behind the injury.

“Once we see the number of hospitalizations going up, that’s really the back half of the train,” said Keri Altoff, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “Right now, it’s taking time to slow things down.”

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The people most at risk of developing the artificially low number of cases in the United States are children who are immunocompromised and children under the age of five, who are not yet eligible for vaccinations. Experts said these groups – or their caregivers – still need a way to accurately measure transmission in their communities.

“We will continue to see outbreaks,” Altoff said. “So we will need to continually assess our individual risks and do more to protect vulnerable people in our communities.”

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