As cases and hospitalizations continue to drop in the early Northeast epicenters, they are rising—in some areas quite sharply—in the South and West. We look at the numbers and at the relationship between an increase in tests and a rise in case counts.
Probable cases of COVID-19 make up only a small fraction of currently reported cases, but the CDC wants states to do a better job reporting them. So what are they and why do they matter? We took a closer look to help reporters and members of the public better understand this complex COVID-19 metric.
The news this week is mixed and highly regional. In the early US epicenter of the outbreak, cases continue to drop. In the southern and western United States, cases are on the rise, as are COVID-19 hospitalizations. And as always, the lag makes the data difficult to put into context.
We're still missing vital race and ethnicity data, but where the data is strongest—official COVID-19 death rates—the toll of longstanding public health inequities within Black communities is painfully clear. Five months into the US outbreak, several states are still not collecting or releasing complete demographic data required to address these disparities and safely re-open state economies. It's time for this to change.
For months, we've worked to patch together inconsistent state-reported data into a national set of numbers for COVID-19 case, death, and testing in the US. The CDC has now published a COVID Data Tracker, but their data only partially matches the numbers we get from the state public health authorities. So we took a closer look.
As antibody tests become more widely available across the United States, we call on all states and territories to preserve the integrity and usefulness of their COVID-19 testing data by maintaining separate viral testing and antibody testing counts.