Better Hospital Data, Clearer Evidence of Failure

The CDC just got bounced from its job compiling covid hospitalization data, shifting responsibility to HHS. The move might be politically motivated, but it’s true that the CDC’s hospital data has been slow and incomplete. According to the CDC, covid hospitalizations remained steady through July 4, but data from the COVID Tracking Project shows a steady and abrupt upward trend beginning around June 24. That a data tracking operation run by The Atlantic magazine should outperform a US government agency dedicated to the task further implicates the Administration’s failure to do its job on behalf of the American people. Maybe HHS will do better.

One glance at the Tracking Project’s hospital trend is enough to persuade me to revisit the models and the trends. Despite the continued lack of accurate surveillance data on infection rates, and despite the confounds introduced by regional variations in diagnostic testing practices and hospital admission criteria, the trend is becoming unmistakable: more infections are leading to more hospitalizations, and now probably more deaths. It’s evidence of the failure to sustain the sizable but incomplete gains achieved during lockdown by reopening prematurely and by not consistently following appropriate safety measures.

 

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