Daily COVID-19 case counts might be on their way out

Daily COVID-19 case counts have smashed all prior records during the omicron surge, but these numbers don't carry the same weight anymore, according to a Jan. 14 article from The Pew Charitable Trusts.

Persistent issues such as testing shortages and data-reporting lags make daily COVID-19 case counts inaccurate. Additionally, these counts don't communicate how many of the cases have progressed to serious outcomes, according to the report.

"The goal of public health data is to provide information to people so they can take actions to keep themselves safer and healthier," Meredith Allen, vice president for health security at the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, said in the report. "We're getting to a point where a daily case count isn't giving people that information."

Public health officials said focusing on COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths would give Americans a more accurate picture of how the virus is affecting public health.

To date, Tennessee is the only state to scale back its COVID-19 case reporting during the omicron surge, though other states may follow suit once the wave subsides, the report said. On Jan. 1, Tennessee shifted from daily to weekly reporting, saying it needed to focus on other public health priorities, such as the opioid crisis.

 

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