The numbers are speaking for themselves as the United States endures the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Cases are climbing and records are being shattered, with numbers recently surpassing 160,000 cases in one day. This is the first time these kinds of numbers have been reached since the beginning of the pandemic. There are currently over 11 million cases of COVID-19 across the United States, and some experts say that numbers are increasing more quickly than during previous phases of the pandemic. But what does testing have to do with these numbers? Let’s take a look.
Trends In Data
The number of COVID-19 tests being performed is much greater than it was at the beginning of the pandemic. Medical experts say that while increased testing will increase the number of positive cases confirmed, this is not the only element in play. While the numbers of daily cases may be slightly higher because of increased testing, it’s important to also consider the overall trends of data. Looking at the big picture and seeing how the numbers are changing over time can give experts and everyday people alike a clearer idea of how the pandemic is progressing. For example, hospitalization rates often give a more reliable idea of trends than daily case counts. This is because tests may have some false positives and asymptomatic cases, whereas anyone in the hospital is definitely ill.
Those trends admittedly aren’t looking overly positive at the moment, with significantly higher rates of recent hospitalizations in 38 states, but we are not without hope. One of the positive differences between now and the beginning of the pandemic in March is that we know much more about the coronavirus now and we are better prepared to deal with it. For example, hospitals are better equipped, PPE such as gloves and masks are much more widely available, and more people are practicing safety measures like social distancing, hand washing, and mask-wearing than they were in the spring. Another positive trend is that fewer people are being put on ventilators during the second wave. This is an indicator that medical professionals have improved other treatment options.
What Has Changed
The trends in who is contracting COVID-19 is also changing significantly. At the beginning of the pandemic, the majority of cases were occurring in long-term care facilities with elderly individuals. Now, things are looking a bit different. With many people returning to work and resuming regular daily activities, there has been an increase in cases in the younger population. This means that younger people will have to be even more diligent going forward about preventing the spread in order to keep everyone safe.
Another factor that is present during the colder months is the regular cold and flu season. This can complicate determining who has contracted COVID-19 because many people will develop regular cold symptoms over the next few months that may appear similar to the coronavirus. Additionally, the increased sneezing and coughing that comes with more colds could result in a wider spread of COVID-19 because it will propel more air droplets around indoor areas.
What We Can Do
Overall, the best thing that anyone can do to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 is to continue to follow the recommendations of health professionals. It is certainly challenging to navigate returning to work and other important daily activities when COVID-19 is still spreading, but there are ways to do so safely.
Anyone who is spending prolonged periods of time in work or other indoor environments with people who are not from their household should be washing their hands frequently, avoiding touching their face, and wearing a mask. It is recommended that people from different households practice social distancing whenever possible.
Another important tool for workplace outbreak prevention is the COVID PreCheck App. Employees can use this app to perform a daily self-assessment test before work. The app also makes returning to work after an isolation period easier because employees can access official test results through the app. COVID PreCheck gives physicians quick access to confirm safe-to-work status, making employers and employees feel safer. Now that we’re in the second wave, practicing prevention is more important than ever — make sure you’re doing your part to keep your workplace safe.