The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated Thursday that it would switch to weekly updates to its nationwide tracking of the virus after more than two years of daily publication of data on COVID-19 infections and deaths.
The CDC moved to a weekly reporting cadence, the organization said in a post, “To provide for increased reporting flexibility, minimize the reporting load on states and territories, and maximize surveillance resources.”
State and municipal health authorities will no longer be required to report new COVID-19 cases or deaths to the organization every week on Wednesdays as of October 20.
Only once a week on Thursdays, the CDC updates its COVID-19 Community Level ratings, which inform recommendations on whether counties should implement masking to reduce a spike in hospital admissions. The agency’s new COVID-19 projections will now be available on Thursdays one day later.
Following several states and other nations that stopped sharing these daily measures earlier this year, the CDC has decided to discontinue reporting COVID-19 data on a daily basis.
Given the extensive use of unreported at-home COVID-19 testing, health officials have long acknowledged that the number of new cases is now significantly under-counted.
During the summer, the FDA also changed the reporting of immunizations from daily to weekly, with publications now limited to Thursdays.
This month, other COVID-19 online tools from the CDC are also being shut down.
On Friday, a chatbot called a “self-checker” that advised users when to get tested and treated is scheduled to be discontinued. Country-by-country travel warnings for the virus from the CDC were removed earlier this week.
As of now, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a different organization, collects daily data on COVID-19 hospitalizations, which the CDC continues to publish.
Whether daily publishing of these numbers will continue once the CDC assumes management of the COVID-19 hospitalization data in December is unknown.
The CDC follows certain additional viruses in a similar manner to how it does with its weekly reports. For instance, the organization has historically released a weekly report on information gathered regarding the surveillance of influenza across the nation.
Even though some foreign nations have switched to weekly reports and the rate of new cases in the U.S. has sharply dropped, the CDC is still giving daily updates to its list of cases in the monkeypox virus outbreak.
Additionally, it happens at a time when federal health authorities are preparing for a possible COVID-19 outbreak similar to the last two lethal winter waves and a potentially severe flu season.
In a speech delivered on Tuesday at an event sponsored by the University of Southern California, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the president’s departing chief medical adviser, stated, “I just spoke with colleagues in health departments around the country, and everyone is experiencing the same experience.”
In the country as a whole, cases, hospitalizations, and deaths reported from COVID-19 have decreased “considerably,” according to Fauci.
However, he cautioned that “it would be a bit cavalier to all of a sudden say we’re entirely finished with it” because of the variety of new varieties that are now spreading over the nation as well as the risk respiratory infections pose each winter.
Fauci stated, “We may be confident that we are moving in the right path, but we can’t let our guard down.