There are serious errors being made in the metrics that are being tracked in the United States when it comes to Covid-19, according to Dr. Tom Frieden, the former director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and current president and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives.
These errors are undermining how quickly and how well the US can control Covid-19 and restore the economy, Frieden said during a webinar on Thursday.
“Today, the United States isn’t focusing on the most important trends, and we’re giving too much weight to numbers that have little meaning,” he added.
Some of the areas that are being focused on which Frieden says are not as important as they are being made out to be include case counts — which he says are relatively meaningless in most of the country — as well as the total number of tests being conducted, and the test positivity rate.
Frieden and his colleagues believe that other metrics are more important when it comes to understanding and controlling Covid-19.
Dr. Cyrus Shahpar, Resolve to Save Lives’ director, listed some of the more important numbers to focus on to help governments and communities to form response plans for Covid-19.
These included unlinked infections, proportion of cases among quarantine contacts, number of health care worker infections, trends in excess mortality and demographic trends.
Unlinked infections, for example, are a good number to track because details about them can be used to improve contact tracing.
“If the metrics that matter are used by governments and communities, we will be better equipped to fight the virus [and] save more lives,” Shahpar said.