Count COVID Hospitalizations, Not Cases

Gina Kolata and Anna P. Kambhampaty, reporting for The New York Times:

Dr. Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, noted on Sunday on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” that many new infections, especially in people who are vaccinated and boosted, result in no symptoms or mild symptoms, making the absolute number of cases less important than it was for previous versions of the virus.

“As you get further on and the infections become less severe, it is much more relevant to focus on the hospitalizations as opposed to the total number of cases,” Dr. Fauci said.

That advice is in keeping with what many epidemiologists have said all along. Despite the daily drumbeat of case counts, the number of positive tests has never been a perfect indicator of the course of the epidemic.

The New York Times itself needs to take this advice to heart. Over the weekend they published a scaremongering story about rising cases in Puerto Rico, but as Nate Silver pointedly observed, only 13 paragraphs into the story did they mention that only 317 people — on an island with 3 million people — were hospitalized for COVID. What’s going on right now in Puerto Rico is a vaccine triumph.

Monday, 3 January 2022