Cases of COVID-19 in the United States fell by more than 95% from their peak in January, making Hawaii the last state to roll back indoor mask obligations on Friday. Testing is slowing and states are also reducing monitoring data reporting. However, experts say that tracking new cases of COVID-19 is still important, even if it is an imperfect tool. Michael Osterholm, director of the University of Minnesota Center for Infectious Disease Research Policy, always knew that the number of cases was underestimated. ” To prevent serious illness, people may skip laboratory-confirmed PCR tests. Previously, the availability of tests was limited, which could have created similar gaps in the reports. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that even before Omicron, only one in four cases was officially reported. It will be tomorrow or the next day. ” Michael Levasour, a professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at Drexel University’s School of Public Health, said. “There may be more people with infections who may encounter things that aren’t shown in the data.” But even if they fall, the daily number of cases is more comprehensive in the calling situation. It provides a useful benchmark for evaluation. “From a public health perspective, it is always important to look at multiple data sources, and if those data sources are pointing in the same direction together, you will be more confident. You can have it, “said Janet Hamilton. According to experts, he is the executive director of the state legislature and the regional epidemiologist council. Hospitalization and death are consistently the most reliable COVID-19 indicators, experts say. .. There is room for improvement in the early indicators of infection. Case rates are best understood in parallel with test positive rates. Visits to the emergency room and virus levels in wastewater are also helpful. Despite dramatic improvements over the last two months, coronavirus infection rates are still high. According to Hamilton, the CDC last month adjusted its indoor masking guidelines to rely more on indicators of hospitalization than on cases. The CDC’s new “Community Level” maps are mostly green, while the original “Community Transmission” maps still have a lot of red. As of Thursday, less than 2% of US counties have a “high community level”, but more than a third of counties have shown “high” or “substantial” infections over the past week. increase. Hamilton overlooks the complex daily risk assessments that individuals make and the public messages they support. It’s difficult because I don’t think it’s just important to look at the “yes, there’s a virus there” indicator. It is also important to apply it to your own personal risk level. And this individual’s risk assessment can be difficult in the coming days or weeks when the signals are mixed. For example, in the United Kingdom, Omicron’s BA.2 subvariant has seen a much more rapid increase in cases than an increase in hospitalizations and mortality, but individual approaches should not necessarily change. “In a day or 50,000 cases a day, you can look at trends and guess how you feel about the risk behind the envelope,” Le Vasseur said, but that’s what I wear a mask. It doesn’t prevent you from doing it. “Don’t stop talking to the people I’m with about our approach,” he said.
Cases of COVID-19 in the United States fell by more than 95% from their peak in January, making Hawaii the last state to roll back indoor mask obligations on Friday. Testing is slowing and states are also reducing monitoring data reporting.
But experts say it is still important to track new COVID-19 cases, even if it is an incomplete tool.
“We always knew that the number of cases was underestimated, dating back to the early days of the pandemic, and it was never clear how much,” said Michael Osterholm, director of the University of Minnesota Center for Infectious Diseases Research Policy. rice field. ..
People may skip PCR tests confirmed in the laboratory because home tests are more widely available and vaccination helps prevent serious illness. Previously, the availability of tests was limited, which could have created similar gaps in the reports. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that even before Omicron, only one of the four cases was officially reported.
Michael Levasour, a professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at Drexel University, said: Faculty of Public Health. “There may be more infectious people who may come across something that is not visible in the data.”
However, even as they diminish, the daily number of cases provides a useful benchmark in a more comprehensive assessment of situations that require investigation across multiple trends.
“From a public health perspective, it’s always important to look at multiple data sources, and if those data sources are pointing in the same direction together, you can be more confident,” said the Managing Director of the State Council. Janet Hamilton says. And a territorial epidemiologist.
Hospitalization and death have consistently been the most reliable COVID-19 indicators, according to experts.
“These two are actually bookends that aren’t much different than test availability,” says Osterholm.
There is room for improvement in the early indicators of infection. Case rates are best understood in parallel with test positive rates. Visits to the emergency room and virus levels in wastewater are also helpful.
Despite the dramatic improvements over the last two months, coronavirus infections are still high.
“The situation is getting worse, but the boy has a lot of COVIDs there,” Hamilton said.
The CDC was driven solely on the basis of transmission levels, but last month it adjusted its indoor masking guidelines to be more dependent on hospitalization indicators than on cases.
The new CDC is “Community level“The map is almost green and original”Community communication“There is still a lot of red on the map. As of Thursday, less than 2% of US counties have a” high community level “, but more than a third of the counties are” high “over the past week. Or had a “substantial” infection.
Experts acknowledge that balancing all of these indicators is a complex risk assessment that individuals perform on a daily basis, and that public messages to support them are out of the question.
“I don’t think we’ve reached the sweet spot about how we help convey that to people,” Hamilton said.
“It’s difficult, because I don’t think it’s just important to look at the’yes, there’s a virus’indicator. It’s also important to apply it to your own personal risk level. am.”
And this individual risk assessment can be difficult in the coming days and weeks as the signals become mixed. In the United Kingdom, for example, Omicron’s BA.2 subvariant has led to a much more rapid increase in cases than an increase in hospitalizations and mortality.
But whether there are 500 new cases per day or 50,000 cases per day, individual approaches should not necessarily change, Le Vasseur said.
“You can look at the trends and guess how you feel about the risks behind the envelope, but that doesn’t prevent me from wearing a mask. It’s what I talk to those people. It doesn’t prevent that, I’m going to be together about our approach, “he said.
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