The Twitter account of White House COVID-19 Data Director Dr. Cyrus Shahpar is an excellent source of updates on all things federal pandemic data. But this past Wednesday, Shahpar’s account took on a new purpose: tech support for the CDC’s dashboard.
In addition to the FiveThirtyEight story, I also had an article come out this week in The Grade, Alexander Russo’s column at KappanOnline. This piece takes a deep dive into Burbio, the company that has become a leading source for data on how COVID-19 impacted K-12 schools across the U.S—in the absence of comprehensive data on this topic from the federal government.
This week, I had a big retrospective story published at FiveThirtyEight: I looked back at the major metrics that the U.S. has used to track COVID-19 over the past two years—and how our country’s fractured public health system hindered our use of each one.
New COVID-19 case numbers for the U.S. overall are still decreasing, according to the CDC’s data. But the drop from the previous week’s cases to this week’s cases (about 5%) is lower than any week-over-week change since Omicron peaked in January, suggesting that we’re heading for a plateau—if not a new increase.
It is now over a year into the U.S.’s vaccine rollout, and the CDC is still failing to publicly share data on vaccinations by state and race/ethnicity. I actually wrote a callout post about this in March 2021, and nothing has changed since then!
Last summer and fall, Idaho was completely overrun by the Delta variant. State leaders implemented crisis standards of care, a practice allowing hospitals to conserve their limited resources when they are becoming overwhelmed. All hospitals in Idaho were in crisis standards for weeks, with the northern Panhandle region remaining in this crisis mode for over 100 days.
Europe’s new surge is likely due to European leaders’ decisions to end all COVID-19 safety measures in their countries, combined with the rise of Omicron sublineage BA.2. As BA.2 prevalence increases here in the U.S.—and our leaders also end safety measures—we seem poised to follow in Europe’s footsteps once again. But a BA.2 surge is likely to look different from the intense Omicron surge that we experienced in December and January, in part because of leftover immunity from that Omicron surge.
National COVID-19 case numbers are still falling, as we reach two months since the peak of the Omicron surge. The U.S. reported about 30,000 new cases each day last week, according to the CDC; that’s the lowest this number has been since last summer.