NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — In the United States, healthcare officials count the number of flu and measles cases, so, why not continue to track COVID-19 cases?
According to the website Our World in Data, the frequency of national reporting has slipped below five days a week for the first time since the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thanks in part to at-home testing, Dr. F. Perry Wilson, an associate professor at the Yale School of Medicine, says the actual numbers are higher than what is being reported.
Current estimates suggest somewhere between 2 and 10 fold as many infections as are being reported through the standard mechanisms are occurring in the community and aren’t being reported. So, while the numbers are off some, he said it’s still important to follow the public testing numbers.
“The trends there are important,” Wilson said. “To see how cases are increasing or decreasing really tells you the tempo of the pandemic in a given area. We can still use it for that.”
Wilson added that we need to keep on tracking the numbers because things will happen in the future.
“There may be new variants that emerge that suddenly cause a spike in cases, and we need to be able to prepare for what that will do to our healthcare system,” Wilson said.
Wilson believes we have learned how to do that over the course of the pandemic. He said we can quickly shift resources into areas that are going to develop a lot of needs.
The number Wilson continues to monitor is how many hospital beds are being filled by individuals with COVID-19 — those numbers are on the rise right now.