Bad news: COVID-19 numbers are pretty meaningless

Jeff Klausner:

Moving forward, we must improve our sentinel hospital surveillance to include only those cases likely to be a true COVID-19 hospitalization. Many experts suggest that can be easily done by counting those cases that required oxygen therapy or specific COVID-19 treatment. Population-based surveys would be very useful, albeit expensive and time-consuming, but conducted in an ongoing statistically meaningful fashion could be very informative.

The bottom line is that we must understand and accept the limitations of current COVID-19 numbers. We should not be responding out of proportion to the severity of the epidemic. We should be focused on making sure vulnerable people have easy and timely access to effective treatment and investing in new vaccines that can truly prevent future infections.