Our team continues to strategize around how to report COVID rates in a way that allows folks to understand their risk of getting or spreading the virus, but without robust testing infrastructure and reporting, we’re left with a lot of imperfect data sources and visualizations. We’ve shared some of these in the past few weeks. Here are a few more:
The CDC’s COVID tracker includes wastewater data.
This week, Biobot shows a small uptick in wastewater levels in the northeast, and other regions remain relatively stable. Of course, local wastewater may be more valuable to follow rather than regional levels.
The New York Times just reintroduced its COVID Tracker. It is using CDC data to produce its data, largely focused on daily COVID admissions and deaths (which we know are grossly underreported).
This week, Black Feminist Future hosted an in-person and virtual event, Get Free, proving that when we’re committed to doing so, when we lean into community care, we can protect ourselves and each other. And we must.
Collectively, we sent in over 600 public comments for the upcoming CDC ACIP hearing on vaccines! You’ll be able to watch the meeting here on June 21-23 starting at 8am each day.
In response to advocacy efforts on the part of Mask Mandate NY and others, New York State distributed free N95s to the general public in some areas impacted by the Quebec wildfires. This effort was shamefully late and insufficient, and advocates continue to call on the Governor and other leaders to make N95s free for all in order to prevent COVID spread, both in NY and elsewhere.
Failures of leadership and other such things:
Rapid antigen tests are important tools, but they’re imperfect. A recently published study suggested that they may miss more cases of contagious COVID than previously understood. It also showed that adding a throat swab can increase the accuracy of the tests. The study emphasizes the importance of taking multiple rapid tests to more accurately detect infectivity.
Although rapid antigen tests may miss some COVID cases, a positive rapid antigen test result should always be considered contagious. Refer to our guide for additional resources if you test positive.
A phase 3 trial demonstrated that metformin may be a promising treatment for COVID. Metformin is commonly prescribed for treatment of type 2 diabetes. Although this work is still early, there are a couple of other important connections to diabetes worth knowing. People with diabetes face higher risks of severe disease with COVID infection, per the CDC’s list of high risk conditions. COVID infection itself also increases the risk of developing diabetes.
The House COVID hearing has been FULL of misinformation. And social media has been a HOT MESS of amplifying bad takes. We offer this reminder to those spiraling on social media. There is work to be done outside of the twitterverse or other social media echo chambers. Find a friend, connect with an organization engaging on an issue you care about, and let’s grow the power we need to demand the COVID mitigations and treatments we deserve.
Here are a few specific things you could do:
Send a letter to your senator urging them to ask CMS to track healthcare acquired COVID infections and implement universal masking. https://actionnetwork.org/letters/track-healthcare-acquired-covid-and-require-masks
Ask congress and the CDC to make PCR testing free for all of us. This is especially important because PCR testing has higher sensitivity, meaning it detects COVID cases when the amount of virus is lower. https://actionnetwork.org/letters/free-pcr-for-all
Notes: 1) The numbers in this report were current as of 6/16/2023. 2) Changes in testing access as well as data reporting have led many federal data sources to become less reliable. Fewer federal data sources may be included in current and upcoming Weather Reports, and we will do our best to provide context regarding the representativeness of limited data. 3) Check out the links throughout & see our website for more! https://peoplescdc.org