The CDC is cutting daily COVID-19 reporting – as pressure mounts on US officials to leave it behind after President Joe Biden declared it over last month.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced the move Thursday, saying it would increase reporting flexibility.
It will go into affect on October 20. The agency will instead begin reporting weekly case and death totals.
Reporting at the state and county level has already been significantly scaled back – with states like Florida and Nebraska dropping daily figures in early 2021.
Only Arkansas, New Jersey and New York still report daily case and death figures.
The move comes as interest in the pandemic wanes across America and leaders begin to express that it is time to move on from the virus.
Daily Covid cases have also cratered in recent months and an expected BA.5 variant-fueled summer surge never materialized.
President Joe Biden declared the pandemic over during a TV interview last month – though he quickly walked back the claim after sharp criticism.
Dr Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, said the US was out of the pandemic phase in April – though he also backtracked on that claim later.
President Joe Biden (pictured) told 60 Minutes last month that the pandemic was over, though he quickly walked back the claims
Daily COVID-19 figures have plummeted in recent months, and an expected BA.5-fueled summer surge never materialized
‘To allow for additional reporting flexibility, reduce the reporting burden on states and jurisdictions, and maximize surveillance resources, CDC is moving to a weekly reporting cadence for line level and aggregate case and death data,’ the agency said about the decision.
The long awaited move comes months after many states chose to rollback daily reporting in an effort to save resources.
Florida and Nebraska were among the first to drop daily reporting in the spring of 2021, deciding periodic updates would suffice.
After the winter Omicron variant-fueled surge waned, many states chose to drop daily reporting and devote resources elsewhere.
Record numbers of children are being hospitalized with colds after their immunity was weakened by social distancing and masks
More children and young people are being hospitalized with colds and respiratory problems than ever after the Covid pandemic, official data suggests.
Experts have repeatedly warned lockdowns and measures used to contain Covid like face masks also suppressed the spread of germs which are crucial for building a strong immune system in children.
A retrospective report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today showed levels of common cold viruses hit their highest level ever among under-18s in August 2021.
The CDC samples random pediatric hospitals across the US and makes national estimates to gauge how prevalent viruses are.
There were nearly 700 children in hospital sick with a respiratory virus across the seven wards studied in August last year, of which just over half had tested positive for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) – which is normally benign.
This was the highest levels ever recorded in summer, and came off the back of a year and a half of brutal pandemic restrictions forcing many to stay indoors.
The record all-time high is in December, when 60 per cent of children on wards with respiratory illnesses were infected with RSV.
While the report only looked at August 2021, separate data from the CDC indicates that hospital visits for children under four years old with respiratory problems may be getting worse.
The CDC move comes relatively late, with only three states still even reporting cases.
Scaling back of daily reporting across the country led to inaccurate and obscure reporting trends forming in recent months.
Daily case figures on Monday and Wednesday were often significantly more than other days of the week because of differing reporting schedules across America.
Weekend figures became near-useless as well with only minimal data making its way into official figures on those days.
Last month, President Biden said that the COVID-19 pandemic was over during an interview with CBS’ 60 minutes.
‘The pandemic is over,’ he said.
‘We still have a problem with COVID. We’re still doing a lot of work on it. But the pandemic is over.
‘If you notice, no one’s wearing masks. Everybody seems to be in pretty good shape, and so I think it’s changing.’
He would backtrack the comments days later during an event for donors to to Democratic Party, saying he meant to say the pandemic has slowed.
Dr Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Disease, said during an interview with PBS News Hour.
‘We are certainly right now in this country out of the pandemic phase,’ the nation’s chief medical officer said.
‘Namely, we don’t have 900,000 new infections a day and tens and tens and tens of thousands of hospitalizations and thousands of deaths. We are at a low level right now.
‘So, if you’re saying, are we out of the pandemic phase in this country, we are. What we hope to do, I don’t believe — and I have spoken about this widely — we’re not going to eradicate this virus.’
Americans’ worry about the pandemic is reaching lows as well.
A New York Times poll published at the end of August found that only 20 per cent of Americans consider the virus to be of great personal risk to them.
This includes a steep drop among ‘very liberal’ Americans – the group most likely to worry.
Only around 35 percent were still worried about the risk the virus posed, compared to just under 50 per cent in March 2022.
Americans’ lack of worry about the virus comes after a relatively Covid-free summer – which follows devastating warm weather seasons in the two previous years.
The US is currently recording 43,149 daily infections, down 23 per cent over the past two weeks.
Deaths have stabilized as well, sitting at 391 per day – an eight per cent drop over 14 days.
The BA.5 variant, believed to be the most transmissive version of the virus yet makes up 81 per cent of sequenced Covid cases in the US, the CDC reports.