This week, I’m sharing answers to three questions from readers that came in recently, through emails and the COVID-19 Data Dispatch Google form. The questions discuss interpreting wastewater and case data, and an interesting masking conundrum.
COVID-19 is still a public health emergency. At the moment, this is true according to both the general definition of this term and official declarations by the federal government. But the latter could change in the coming months, likely leading to more fragmentation in U.S. COVID-19 data.
There’s no sugarcoating it: we are in an extremely confusing and frustrating phase of the pandemic. We see the rising (yet undercounted) case numbers, we hear from friends and family members who have recently tested positive. And yet the CDC’s official COVID-19 guidance is still based on a mostly-green map, while local leaders refuse to reinstate mask mandates or other safety measures.
In this post, I’m answering reader questions about how individuals can impact COVID-19 policies. Such questions feel particularly pertinent this week, as leaders of several states loosen up on mask mandates and other COVID-19 safety measures.
A couple of weeks ago, I received a reader question from a friend of mine who recently got engaged! He and his fiancée are planning a wedding in summer 2023, and he asked me: “How likely do you think it is that (1) the COVID-19 pandemic remains a serious danger to our safety in the summer of 2023 and (2) the government still has the energy to keep enforcing COVID-19 restrictions?”
I recently received a question from a COVID-19 Data Dispatch reader that followed a similar theme to many questions that readers, friends, and family members have asked me in the past few months. The question essentially outlined an event in the reader’s personal life that they’d been invited to attend, and asked for my advice: should they go? How risky was this event?
This year, the risk of spreading COVID-19 at a holiday gathering is still present—but for many gatherings, it’s much more manageable thanks to vaccines. Still, there’s a lot of potential uncertainty involved in planning gatherings this winter
Though it’s now been well over a year since the first Long COVID patients were infected, there is still so much we don’t know about the condition. For example, we don’t know a very rudimentary number: how many people in the U.S. are struggling with Long COVID. We also don’t have a clear, detailed picture of Long COVID symptoms, or how these symptoms arise from a coronavirus infection, or how they impact the daily lives of Long COVID patients.