Dr. James Musser, an infectious disease specialist at Houston Methodist, called the national case data on BA.2 “murky.” He added: “What we really need is as much real-time data as possible ... to inform decisions.”
Despite disease monitoring improvements over the last two years, they say, some recent developments don’t bode well:
—As more people take rapid COVID-19 tests at home, fewer people are getting the gold-standard tests that the government relies on for case counts.
—The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will soon use fewer labs to look for new variants.
—Health officials are increasingly focusing on hospital admissions, which rise only after a surge has arrived.
—A wastewater surveillance program remains a patchwork that cannot yet be counted on for the data needed to understand coming surges.
—White House officials say the government is running out of funds for vaccines, treatments and testing.
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