Opinion: It's time to call a surge a surge

The recent rise in COVID-19 cases has led to a series of euphemisms to describe the uptick, but it's time to refer to the situation as what it is: a surge, The Atlantic writer Katherine Wu wrote May 5.

Nationwide, COVID-19 cases have increased 54 percent and hospitalization by 19 percent over the last 14 days as of May 5, according to HHS data tracked by The New York Times.

The collective sense of what constitutes a spike changed after the omicron surge this winter, referred to as a "new normal" by Maia Majumder, PhD, an infectious-disease modeler at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital.

Perspective isn't the only issue, according to Ms. Wu. The underestimation of cases is also contributing to the lax attitude about current numbers, she said. The country's goals have shifted with new CDC guidance, but the number of cases are about the same as they were in July during the delta surge, Ms. Wu wrote.

"The goal now should be to look at what’s ahead," Ms. Wu wrote. "It hardly matters if Americans end up calling this case rise, or future ones, a wave or wavelet, a surge or swell, so long as they take stock of whatever this is and try to keep it from growing even more."

 

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