Jul 24, 2021 - Health

Some states trim COVID reporting as Delta spurs surge

: In this photo illustration the Florida's COVID-19 Data and Surveillance Dashboard is seen displayed on a computer screen.

In this photo illustration, the Florida's COVID-19 Data and Surveillance Dashboard is seen displayed on a computer screen. Photo: SOPA Images/Getty Images

Florida, Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota have recently curtailed their COVID-19 daily reporting, shifting to weekly or monthly updates despite witnessing upticks in virus-related cases, hospitalizations and deaths, AP reports.

Why it matters: The trend of reducing reporting worries some health care experts, many of whom believe more data is better amid the pandemic. Some people treat state virus dashboards as essentials help make decisions social gatherings mask wearing, and broad community risk.

Weekly releases — like the strategy employed in Florida — "have consequences for the country’s understanding of the current summer surge, with no statewide COVID stats coming out of the virus hotspot for six days a week," AP writes.

Driving the news: Nebraska recently halted virus-reporting for two weeks after Gov. Pete Ricketts ended the state's virus emergency. That decision was reversed two weeks later and a weekly site with basic numbers went live.

  • In Florida, virus reporting frequency slowed earlier this month, with officials saying it reflected the dwindling case counts and the increasing number of people being vaccinated.
  • Kansas started reporting its data three times a week back May when the state's health department said the task overwhelmed its staff.
  • Washington, D.C., earlier this week published a dashboard on breakthrough cases to illustrate those residents who contracted the virus after being fully vaccinated.

What they're saying: "There was absolutely no reason to eliminate the daily updates beyond an effort to pretend like there are no updates," said state Rep. Anna Eskamani, a Democrat from the Orlando area.

The other side: Experts have long-advised that seven-day rolling averages are more valuable for laypeople because the numbers can vary widely each day.

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