Covid-19 most definitely did not take a summer vacation. The number of virus cases in the US has been increasing for weeks, but it’s difficult to determine how extensively it’s spreading.
According to federal data, recent gains have remained much below past peaks and substantial jumps. However, based on gossip among family, friends, and coworkers, it may seem as though everyone is currently aware of someone who is ill with Covid-19.
Although rates of serious illness may continue to be low, there are likely more infections than the surveillance mechanisms in place can detect, according to experts.
According to Janet Hamilton, executive director of the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists, there is more transmission occurring than what the monitoring data suggests. And because we are beginning to notice an increase, we should be paying attention.
The University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation regularly estimated the case rates of Covid-19 between 2020 and 2022 and projected trends. But in December, the research center stopped doing that modeling.
According to Ali Mokdad, a professor of health metrics sciences and chief strategy officer for population health at the University of Washington, all of the measurements that were taken into account by the model were no longer being reported or had undergone some sort of alteration.
“The surveillance system was not adequate anymore to capture changes in Covid-19,” he claimed. The margin of error, in our opinion, grew to be far too great for us to produce a prediction we could stand by and defend.
While Mokdad declined to provide a specific estimate for current case counts, he did report that recently, he has had a lot of calls and concerns about Covid-19, which is consistent with what he saw at the end of the previous year. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were reporting roughly 500,000 cases per week in mid-December. And according to estimates from the IHME at the time, the US was experiencing one of the deadliest pandemic waves, second only to the Omicron surge.