Seroprevalence, incomplete data in the wake of the Omicron wave

More than half of Americans have some antibodies from a recent coronavirus infection, according to a new CDC report. The study was published Tuesday in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), accompanied by a press conference and other fanfare. To me, this report (and its publicity) reflects the CDC’s current lack of urgency around addressing the pandemic and its continued impacts.

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The CDC’s isolation guidance is not based on data

Remember how, in December, the CDC changed its recommendations for people who’d tested positive for COVID-19 to isolating for only five days instead of ten? And a bunch of experts were like, “Wait a second, I’m not sure if that’s sound science?” Well, studies since this guidance was changed have shown that, actually, a lot of people with COVID-19 are still contagious after five days. Yet the CDC has not revised its guidance at all.

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States treating COVID-19 as “endemic” is leading to shifts in data collection and reporting

Some states are making major shifts in the ways they collect and report COVID-19 data. State public health departments are essentially moving to monitor COVID-19 more like the way they monitor the flu: as a disease that can pose a serious public health threat and deserves some attention, but does not entirely dictate how people live their lives.

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FAQ: A refresher on test positivity rates

I’ve recently been getting a lot of questions about test positivity rates, both from COVID-19 Data Dispatch readers and from friends outside this project, which reminded me of just how confusing this pandemic metric can be. So, here’s a brief FAQ post about test positivity.

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CovidTests.gov early rollout raises equity concerns; where’s the data?

This week, the U.S. government unveiled a new website where Americans can get free at-home COVID-19 tests. Within hours of this site going live, public health experts were already raising equity concerns about the free test distribution program. To address these concerns, the federal government should release data on where the free tests go—including breakdowns by state, county, ZIP code, race and ethnicity, the tests’ delivery dates, and more.

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FAQ: Testing and isolation in the time of Omicron

As Omicron spreads rapidly through the U.S., this variant is driving record case numbers—and record demand for testing, including both PCR and rapid at-home tests. In other words, it feels harder than ever to get tested for COVID-19, largely because more people currently need a test due to recent exposure to the virus than at any other time during the pandemic.

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