From the AP
“For two years, coronavirus case counts and hospitalizations have been widely used barometers of the pandemic’s march across the world. But the omicron wave is making a mess of the usual statistics, forcing news organizations to rethink the way they report such figures.
‘It’s just a data disaster,’ said Katherine Wu, staff writer who covers COVID-19 for The Atlantic magazine. The number of case counts soared over the holidays, an expected development given the emergence of a variant more transmissible than its predecessors.
Yet these counts only reflect what is reported by health authorities. They do not include most people who test themselves at home, or are infected without even knowing about it. Holidays and weekends also lead to lags in reported cases.
If you could add all those numbers up — and you can’t — case counts would likely be substantially higher. For that reason, The Associated Press recently told its editors and reporters to avoid emphasizing case counts … Many news organizations are debating how best to use statistics now during the Omicron surge …
Hospitalizations and death rates are considered by some to be a more reliable picture of COVID-19’s current impact on society. Yet even the usefulness of those numbers has been called into question in recent days. In many cases, hospitalizations are incidental: there are people being admitted for other reasons and are surprised to find they test positive for COVID.”