CDC Decides to Stop Tracking Community Transmission of COVID-19

The CDC has decided to stop testing community transmissions of COVID-19 and continue exclusively tracking hospitalizations. News

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COVID-19 was an unprecedented time in everyone's life. More than three years after the first reported COVID-19 case, the world is still battling the infection.

Although we are nowhere near where we were at the start of the pandemic, thanks to the advancement of technology enabling pharmaceutical companies to mass produce vaccines and treatments, it would be premature to say the battle is over.

With the nation's public health emergency set to expire on May 11, 2023, the CDC has decided to stop tracking community-level infections.  The community levels were adopted in February 2022, color-coding counties by their weekly infection rates and how many tests yielded positive results.

Alternatively, the CDC has now decided to continue tracking hospitalizations due to COVID-19 infections exclusively instead, as reported by CNN.

Tracking Hospitalizations and Infections

Tracking hospitalizations due to infections is common practice, as it is done with other respiratory infections such as influenza. But, it may be a late indicator for COVID-19 as typically, people infected do not get admitted until almost a week later.

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To close the gap, it has been reported that wastewater testing in communities and air travelers will continue.

"We're not going to lose complete surveillance, but we will lose that hyperlocal sensitivity to it perhaps,” the source discloses.  

What Does the Future Hold?

Due to the change in tracking, COVID-19 infections have been underrepresented in communities leading to changes in policy, such as no longer needing masks. With this change, public health units will no longer have to report COVID-19 infections to the CDC.

"Some of the metrics simply cannot be sustained because of the change in data reporting,” the source said.

Tracking cases has become a poor indicator of infections and transmissions as many people have opted to home testing, and many infections have gone unreported to health authorities.

Community-level tracking can end as early as next week, although a definitive date has yet to be finalized. In the past week, 88,000 infections and 1,052 deaths were reported in the United States.

It is evident that the residents of the United States have moved on from COVID-19, and now it appears the CDC is following suit with a much less robust tracking system. 

This news was first reported by CNN.

Edited by Joe V


Praveen has 4 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in Public Health.

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