The continuing gaps in the data collection program of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) even after almost two years have caused scientists and health officials in the US to still struggle in gathering timely and accurate domestic data on Omicron cases that will help in informing policy decisions to save American lives.
Its importance is highlighted as more cases are recorded each day that even New York state has quietly surpassed the 60,000 deaths from coronavirus.
Did the CDC Fail to Accurately Track COVID-19 Cases in the US?
POLITICO reported that many infectious diseases experts are disappointed that data gaps still exist today, which was the problem during the beginning of the pandemic, showing a lack of improvement.
For instance, a former advisory board member of the COVID Tracking Project and molecular medicine Professor Eric Topol of Scripps Research said that the health agency has done a horrible job in data tracking the pandemic as they are not tracking the things needed to be tracked.
On the other hand, other Western countries have used their modern healthcare systems that easily track patient data ad share epidemiologic information across a broad spectrum of health facilities as well as public health departments. But the lack of accurate domestic data has forced US health officials to increasingly rely on international sources to respond to the COVID-19 surges in the US.
This shows the extent to which the US public health data is failing to generate real-time and accurate domestic data about the spread of the virus, especially since the Omicron variant has already arrived on the US shores. Experts call on action to improve current existing surveillance systems that will enable the healthcare system to handle another massive surge.
New York Quietly Surpasses 60,000 COVID-19 Deaths
The state Health Department of New York has reported 47,492 COVID-19-related deaths, according to New York Post. This data came from the deaths reported by hospitals, nursing homes, and adult care facilities only.
But CDC has reported a more complete death count based on the death certificate data from the state and city health offices. According to the CDC, the New York state has quietly surpassed 60,000 cases with around 60,253 deaths, marking the surge of cases since last week as Omicron cases increased.
The good news is that the death rate this time has significantly decreased since December 2020 because most people have been vaccinated or built up immunity from the previous infection. Fortunately, health officials in the state were able to convince the older group of people to get vaccinated and get a booster shot.