This summer’s COVID-19 outbreak is starting to take hold in Ga., But case numbers are misleading
This summer’s COVID-19 outbreak is starting to take hold in Ga., But case numbers are misleading

This summer’s COVID-19 outbreak is starting to take hold in Ga., But case numbers are misleading

Epidemiologists from the White House to Atlanta’s own researchers said COVID’s spread is likely to be much worse than it appears on paper due to the incidence of home tests and the number of infections not being reported. Dr. Jayne Morgan, CEO of Piedmont Healthcare COVID-19 task forcesaid infections are probably five to ten times higher than state reports, meaning Georgia is in the midst of a budding outbreak.

“We are not missing the early signals,” she told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Monday. “We have passed it. We are in that sense.”

The undercount is due to several factors. Many states, including Georgia, have begun publishing COVID-19 data on a weekly basis instead of daily, which may delay how quickly the public learns about rising infections and hospitalizations. The recent addiction to home test – spurred on by a federal effort to increase test access – has also muddied the water because most positive home test results are not reported to government officials.

ExploreSeveral of the vaccinated and boosted land in the hospital with COVID-19

Dr. Ashish Jha, White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator, said below a press conference on Wednesday that the country experiences about 100,000 new infections every day. Home tests are not included in this number, so some health experts estimate that it is only one-fifth or one-tenth of current infections.

“I’ve been a big fan of home tests for the last two years,” Jha said. “But that means we’re clearly counting down infections.”

At the same meeting, Dr. warned. Rochelle P. Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found that about one-third of Americans live in an area with a high threat of COVID infection. She advised people to consider wearing a mask in an indoor public setting, and the rise in infections caused Philadelphia to reintroduce mask mandates for schools.

The past two summers have seen COVID outbreaks in the South, led by President Joe Biden’s administration predicts will happen again this year. However, some doctors say that one of the main reasons is that omicron and its subvariants have led to a markedly lower number of hospitalizations and deaths despite the high rate of infection.

“The only thing that gives me hope is that (hospitalizations have been) down for a much longer time than we have done in the last few waves,” said Dr. John Delzell, vice president and incident commander at the incident. Northeast Georgia Health System.

The number of people hospitalized with COVID is still at or close to the lowest number since the beginning of the pandemic. About 500 COVID patients are currently hospitalized, which is a slight increase from the past few weeks, but it pales in comparison to previous outbreaks. During the peak of the omicron wave in early 2022, there were more than 5,000 COVID admissions, shows data.

Health experts are concerned that widespread infections could land more vulnerable people in the hospital or cause the rapidly changing virus to mutate again into a strain that causes more serious illnesses or deaths.

“The cascade from infections to hospitalizations to serious illness to death provides a huge amount of information about what this version of the virus does,” Dr. Richard Rothenberg, an epidemiologist with Georgia State University, said in an email. “Since a lot of people now diagnose at home … we missed a great opportunity to track it down.”

Deaths are left at the lowest point since the beginning of the pandemic. Georgia has an average of about two deaths a day on May 9, which is the lowest rate since May 17, 2020. But health experts said a summer outbreak could reverse this trend and raise fears about what is on the horizon.

“The good news is that omicron and all of its progeny … have caused less serious illness,” Morgan said. “The bad news is that because it causes less serious illness, I think people have been a little more relaxed about public health measures and about vaccinations.”

The number of Georgians vaccinated has stagnated over the past few months, and almost all public COVID measures – such as mask mandates and mandatory quarantines – have been lifted in the state. Health experts said it is important for people to exercise caution, get vaccinated and get tested if they feel sick, especially because re-infections and breakthrough cases have become more common with omicron.

“There can be long-term consequences of this … by allowing yourself to be infected and putting yourself at risk, you are putting everyone else at risk because new variants can evolve,” Morgan said.

ExploreGeorgia’s COVID-19 vaccination rate for young children is lagging behind the rest of the United States

– Contributing Writer Helena Oliviero contributed to this report.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.