9 states ending daily COVID-19 reporting

At least nine states have cut back on daily COVID-19 reports that provide information on new cases, hospitalizations and deaths, The New York Times reported March 19. 

States cutting back on daily reports have shifted to reporting data either once a week or twice a week. Arizona, Hawaii, Kentucky, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina and the District of Columbia are among those that have shifted to weekly reports, while Wyoming is now reporting data twice a week. Public health officials expect more states to cut back on daily COVID-19 reports soon. 

"We've moved to a place where we don't need to know the absolute numbers," Marcus Plescia, MD, chief medical officer of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, which represents the public health agencies of all 50 states, told the Times. "We can still monitor trends for people who are getting tests in public settings. We still have a good sense of where the absolute numbers are going." 

Some experts have said metrics like hospitalizations, vaccination numbers and wastewater surveillance are more valuable at this point in the pandemic than case counts, and that shifting from daily COVID-19 reports will better enable state health departments to focus on these measures. 

Other experts are concerned cutting back COVID-19 data reporting may affect response times to future surges. 

"Infectious diseases like SARS-CoV-2 move very quickly, and therefore we need to respond quickly to early signals of rising cases or a new variant," said Sam Scarpino, PhD, managing director of pathogen surveillance at the Rockefeller Foundation's Pandemic Prevention Institute in New York City. "Early action prevents school closures, mask mandates and saves lives. However, if we're waiting around days or weeks or months for the new data, it's hard to see the signals quickly enough," he told the Times

The data reporting cut-backs come amid experts' concern over the potential for a new wave of cases in the U.S., based on a rise in cases across some European countries and in Asia. 

The daily average for new cases in the U.S. is still on the decline. On March 20, that figure was 29,905, according to data from the Times

 

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