The discrepancies behind recent COVID-19 hospitalization, death data

Holiday disruptions are likely behind discrepancies in COVID-19 data that have emerged in the last few weeks, according to health experts. The nation's daily average for hospitalizations has fallen by about 15 percent over the last two weeks, data from The New York Times shows. Meanwhile, data also suggests COVID-19 deaths have risen within the same time frame.

An average of 38,899 people were hospitalized as of Jan. 19, marking a 15 percent fall over the last two weeks. The daily average for COVID-19 deaths was up 6 percent the same day, with an average of 482 deaths. 

In a Jan. 18 podcast, Andrea Garcia, vice president of science, medicine and public health at the American Medical Association, cited the Times' data, saying that "deaths are certainly rising." However, "part of this increase could be due to interruptions in reporting due to the holidays," she said. "We could be seeing inflation in that number. So we'll need to keep a close eye on those numbers to see if they level out in the coming weeks." 

The commonality of reinfections at this point in the pandemic may also play a role in what appears to be a rise in deaths. Findings published Nov. 10 in Nature Medicine found repeat COVID-19 infections contribute significant additional risk of adverse health outcomes. Overall, people with reinfections were twice as likely to die than those who had only been infected once.


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