As we approach the second year mark of the initial outbreak of COVID in the United States, case counts continue to rise with the surging Omicron variant, but our case counts still the
right metric to point to don’t.
Dylan Huberman spoke with professionals in two health systems who aren’t so sure about that.
“I do believe that case counts are less important today and that watching the severity of their COVID, meaning hospitalizations and mortality rates are a better indicator at this point
in the pandemic.”
UPMC’s Dr. David Burwell says that tracking hospitalization and death rates are more important than just looking at case counts. He even says that the meaning of a positive COVID test
is changing with vaccine advancements.
“I mean, we’re going to have to see as far as the importance of having a positive test is, especially if you are vaccinated and you have limited likelihood of developing severe COVID
because of your current health and vaccination status. What is the importance of a positive test that changes”
Geisinger as director of their Division of Infectious Diseases, says case counts still have their value as a predictive measure.
“Knowing the number of infections that are occurring in the community and knowing who is who is getting infected is important, right? Because it is going to help us predict what’s
going to be happening in the future. It’s going to help us predict what’s going to happen when it comes to hospitalizations and death.”
Dr. Martin says case counts are still independent of hospitalization and mortality rates.
“As the numbers rage. We may not be seeing the same degree of hospitalization we’ve seen before, and that’s important, and that’s that’s good. We are still going to see hospitalization
rates go up and deaths potentially go up as a result of this current wave of infection, unfortunately.”
And he says Omicron rates prove his point.
“This variant on the crime? Is not causing a severe disease as previous variants, because if it were, it would be devastating to the entire all of society because the number of
infections that we have right now are just skyrocketing. I mean, in ways that we’ve never seen before.”
But with stricter mitigation measures constantly debated across the country, Dr. Burwell says case counts are not the end all, be all. They once were perceived to be
“Just solely impacting mitigation risks and utilizing the case counts to trigger elevation of mitigation is not where we are at today “