10 U.S. States Ditching Daily COVID-19 Reporting Despite WHO Warning Pandemic Is ‘Far From Over’

by TK Sanders
(Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP) (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images)

Health officials across the U.S. are abandoning daily COVID-19 reporting and data management as much of the world looks to move on permanently from the pandemic. The World Health Organization (WHO), however, still believes the pandemic is far from over.

At a glance

  • Moving from a pandemic phase to an endemic phase of the COVID-19 era requires a change in reporting, among many other new measures
  • 10 U.S. states now report COVID-19 data on a weekly basis rather than daily, with South Dakota being the latest
  • A lineage variant of Omicron has begun emerging globally, but has not affected the U.S. much yet

South Dakota became the tenth state to move into an “endemic” phase of the viral response; meaning building policy around a reality in which COVID-19 never fully disappears, but rather is managed annually, Daily Mail reports.

The first step towards unrolling endemic policy is to cease the daily COVID-19 data reporting in favor of weekly reporting. South Dakota joins Arizona, Hawaii, Kentucky, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma and South Carolina as states that recently cut reporting. Nebraska and Florida cut daily reporting months ago.

The move away from pandemic response comes as U.S. daily figures continue to fall — down roughly 12 percent week over week to about 30,000 per day. For comparison, the Omicron variant caused around 800,000 cases per day during its January peak.

The WHO warns that cases are poised to increase if pandemic measures are abandoned. In New York City, a city which has historically set the pace for cases during the pandemic, cases are rising slightly. Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former director of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and board member at Pfizer, said small bumps are normal.

“I don’t think we’re going to see a big wave of infection, but we’re going to see some uptick from where we are right now. Right now, we’re at very low levels of infection,” he said.

Daily global COVID-19 data suggests multi-percentage uptick in cases last week

According to the data, the daily COVID-19 infection rate for America sits at its lowest point since last summer. Gottlieb said he expects that trend to continue.

“I think we’re going to continue to see low levels of infection through the summer,” he said during CBS’s Face the Nation. “But before we get there, we’re probably going to see some tick-up of infection like the Europeans are seeing right now, maybe not as pronounced.”

The WHO reported a global uptick of cases by eight percent last week, up to 11 million total cases. In the UK, cases have jumped around 40 percent over the past week, to 100,000 per day.

“These increase are occurring despite reductions in testing in some countries, which means the cases we’re seeing are just the tip of the iceberg,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, General Director of the WHO, said last week.

Margaret Harris, another WHO official, echoed those sentiments. In a news conference Friday, she said that the pandemic is “far from over.”

The small spikes throughout the world are attributable to a “stealth” variant which is part of the Omicron lineage. The Omicron variant and its lineages now make up the entirety of new cases in America.