The COVID Data We Need in a Time of Low COVID Testing

Another day, another story about how we’re dramatically underestimating the prevalence of COVID because of massive undertesting, in part due to at-home antigen testing and in part because resources for COVID prevention are being cut across the board.

I know I sound like a broken record on this topic, but the one measure that will allow people to assess the risk they face is the CDC ‘Community Level’ data.

HAH! WE MAKE THE FUNNY! The CDC ‘Community Level’ data suck ass.

What we really need is asymptomatic hospital intake positivity rates. In English (or my close approximation thereof), what percentage of patients tested in hospitals who are not going to the hospital because they might have COVID (e.g., pregnant women, routine procedures, heart attacks etc.) test positive. That would give us a reasonable estimate of what it looks like ‘out there.’

If you saw that two percent of people tested positive, and you had plans to go to a big indoors party with a couple hundred people, you could decide if the risk is worth it (the chance that one or more people have COVID would approach 100 percent in that case). But right now, we’re flying blind.

If it’s up to us to decide for ourselves how to respond, then, at the very last, give us the information to protect ourselves.

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3 Responses to The COVID Data We Need in a Time of Low COVID Testing

  1. greg lanman says:

    The CDC is reporting data that it receives from State and Local Public Health Departments. If the data being presented by the CDC sucks ass, please lay the blame at the feet of those, who are no longer reporting their data; state and local public health departments (mostly under pressure by their political masters). The data the CDC was getting from State and Local Public Health Departments has been problematic, since January/February 2020 and had gotten worse, when the Trump White House, decided to politicize this pandemic, with the fully support of over 20 Red State Governors. Nothing has changed in May 2022, other than there is zero money coming from the Federal Government to entice States to collect, analyze, or share their data.

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  3. Wastewater testing is simple, and absolutely able to give you the level of infection in a city without relying on human reporting. It is stupid that this isn’t being done on a nationwide scale.

    We’re deeply screwed if a seriously dangerous variant emerges.

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