Bloomberg says it’s seen a draft of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s plan for reporting Covid cases, and it includes changes to data-collection habits that may now be outdated or redundant — including hospitals that suspected but not report tested Covid cases.
Bloomberg: CDC plans to stop reporting suspected Covid cases to ease strain
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention plan to simplify the Covid-19 hospital data they collect as the needs of the pandemic evolve and some information collected has become outdated or redundant. The agency will likely stop collecting data from hospitals on suspected Covid cases that have not been confirmed by testing, for example, and may also stop federal reporting from rehabilitation and psychiatric facilities that are not major intake points for virus cases. based on a draft of the plan viewed by Bloomberg News. (Griffin and Armstrong, 5/26)
NPR: COVID rates may be much higher than reported. How bad is the current surge?
Cases of COVID-19 are – once again – on the rise. In the United States, an average of more than 100,000 new cases are reported across the country each day. That’s nearly twice what it was a month ago and four times what it was this time last year. And the real number of cases is likely much higher, according to health officials. With many people now relying on at-home testing, “we’re clearly undercounting infections,” said Dr. Ashish Jha, White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator, to reporters at the recent COVID press conference. Hospitalizations are also increasing, albeit gradually in most places. (Simmons-Duffin, 27.5.)
Politico: CMS draws attention to hospitals with Covid outbreaks
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is investigating hospitals where high rates of patients have contracted Covid-19 infections after cases hit record highs this year. Jon Blum, the agency’s deputy chief administrator and chief operating officer, told POLITICO on Wednesday that the regulator is focusing on facilities with Covid outbreaks while taking into account safety complaints from patients and health workers, a change from the “less stringent” process of the agency in the pandemic. (Delivery, 26.5.)
Salt Lake Tribune: Utah COVID-19 case count rises and 12 others die – including one child, state reports
This week, Utah reported more than 5,000 new coronavirus cases, more than 100 new hospitalizations and a dozen other deaths — including a girl between the ages of 1 and 14. The Health Ministry said it had no additional information about her death. Last week, state health officials and doctors told reporters that Utah is in the midst of a coronavirus surge and will likely see rising case numbers and other metrics for several more weeks. dr Intermountain’s Brandon Webb said high positivity rates indicated the case numbers were “significantly under-counting”. (Harkins, 27.5.)
More on the spread of Covid —
AP: Dominant coronavirus mutant contains ghosts of pandemic past
The mutant coronavirus now dominant in the United States is a member of the Omicron family, but scientists say it spreads faster than its Omicron predecessors, is adept at escaping immunity, and could potentially cause more serious diseases . Why? Because it combines characteristics of Omicron and Delta, the country’s dominant variant in the middle of last year. A genetic trait dating back to the pandemic’s past, known as the “delta mutation,” appears to allow the virus to “escape pre-existing immunity from vaccination and previous infections, especially if you got infected in the Omicron wave.” said Dr Wesley Long, pathologist at Houston Methodist in Texas. That’s because the original Omicron tribe that took over the world didn’t have this mutation. (Hungary, 26.5.)
MedPage Today: When will we know if COVID is seasonal?
COVID-19 could indeed become a seasonal disease with predictable infection patterns — but it’s not there yet, epidemiologists and infectious disease experts say. While the virus has exhibited some element of seasonality since it first emerged more than two years ago, other factors — including variant evolution, population immunity, and behavioral changes — have made seasonality less apparent. (Fiore, 24.5.)
The New York Times: Why Covid is more likely to spread in the gym
Many gyms and health clubs appear to be filling up again with people eager to return to their old routines and communities, or to get in shape for the summer, all while new Omicron variants are driving up Covid infections. So how safe is it to go back to the gym? Put another way, how many microscopic aerosol particles are the other cyclists in your spinning class breathing into the room? How many does the runner spit out on the nearby treadmill? A small study of breathing and movement published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences provides some pretty chilling answers. (Reynolds, 24.5.)
KHN: Burned out by Covid and 80-hour weeks, resident doctors are unionizing
In the first weeks of the pandemic, Dr. Lorenzo González, then a family medicine resident at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, faced exhaust fumes as a sophomore and worked up to 80 hours a week in the ICU. He was constantly petrified that he would contract the Covid-19 virus and felt guilty about not having enough time to help his ailing father. In April 2020, his father, a retired landscape gardener, died of heart and lung failure. González mourned alone. His work as a doctor-in-training put him at high risk of contracting the virus, and he didn’t want to accidentally pass it on to his family. Financial stress also set in as he faced high funeral expenses. (Kwon, 27.5.)
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.