The Omicron BA.5 variant is now the dominant Covid-19 variant in the US among new cases.
But the picture of the pandemic is getting darker as states report their cases on a less regular basis, according to The New York Times.
New federal estimates of new cases have shown that the BA.5 accounted for 54 percent of new cases in the U.S. for the week ending Saturday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The new data is model-based and subject to change as more numbers are reported.
Omicron variants BA.4 and BA.5 can both avoid antibodies created by vaccinations and infections, but researchers in South Africa found that a spring spike didn’t seem to cause more serious illness than the first wave of Omicron cases in South Africa. that land.
Most home test results are not included in the data and not all infected are tested or know they have the virus.
The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, at a conference in Aspen, Colorado late last month, said that “one of my favorite sayings from someone at the CDC was, ‘You don’t have to count the raindrops until you know how hard it’s raining.'”
“So from the half-million to a million PCRs we do every day, we can see how we’re doing in areas across the country,” she added.
More than 113,000 new cases of Covid-19 are reported every day in the US.
A senior scientist at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security at the Bloomberg School of Public Health, Amesh Adalja, told the paper that “that’s not really a reflection of the total amount of virus circulating in the communities.”
His “back of the envelope” estimate is about a million cases per day, he said.
But as states report their cases more erratically, it’s taking longer to reveal changes over the course of the pandemic.
“Tracking the daily test count is less instructive than it was,” said Dr. Adalya.
“I think testing is going to play a different role,” he added. “Even when the testing was at a different point, it’s always been an underestimate.”
He said he uses the number of hospital admissions compared to the capacity of a healthcare facility as a better tracker in different communities. He added that more attention should be paid to tracking serious illness rather than the “boom and busts of cases”.
Although the number of hospital admissions remained at a low level, they increased in June. Every day there are on average about 33,000 people in hospitals with Covid-19. Less than 4,000 of them are in intensive care. Reported deaths are less than 400 a day, compared to the January 2021 peak of more than 3,300.