California, which once updated its cumulative case and death counts every weekday, now does so only twice a week. In Florida, case and death data is only released once every two weeks. Just last week, many more public testing sites closed in Alaska, Colorado and Rhode Island; Iowa is closing many sites by the end of next week.
Recent virus numbers have wobbled during holidays like Memorial Day and Juneteenth, during which many states often pause reporting and then restart tracking afterwards, a trend that is sure to continue this week. after the 4th of July holiday weekend.
“Tracking the daily test tally is less informative than it used to be,” Dr Adalja said, citing the strong link between cases and hospitalizations in the past. Today’s numbers shouldn’t be treated like checking a sports team’s daily standings or scores, he added.
“I think testing plays a different role,” he said. “Even when testing was at a different stage, it was always an underestimate.”
To get localized insight into the evolution of the virus, Dr Adjala said he had come to rely on hospitalizations as a percentage of his capacity. It also checks the CDC’s community levels tracking, which includes new hospital admissions and the number of beds used. He urges focusing on serious illnesses, rather than following “booms and busts of cases”.
Hospitalizations increased slightly throughout June, although they remain low. Just over 33,000 people are in US hospitals with the coronavirus on average, and fewer than 4,000 are in intensive care. Reports of new deaths remain below 400 a day, down from the country’s daily peak of more than 3,300 deaths in January 2021.
Lisa Waananen, Christine Chung and Alain Delaqueriere contributed report.