Outbreaks give the impression of living with viruses

Carla K Johnson

The US is getting its first glimpse of what it’s like to experience COVID-19 outbreaks during this new phase of living with the virus, and the list of those newly infected is star-studded.

Cabinet members, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Broadway actors and the governors of New Jersey and Connecticut have all tested positive. Outbreaks at Georgetown University and Johns Hopkins University are bringing mask requirements back to those campuses as officials scramble for quarantine spots.

The known infections probably only reveal the tip of the iceberg – actors and politicians are regularly tested at work. Official case numbers are certainly a huge understatement of how widespread the virus is, given that home testing has been done and mildly ill people don’t bother to test at all.

Ali Mokdad, Adjunct Professor, Epidemiology and Professor, Health Metrics Sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Across the country, mask wearing is at its lowest level since April 2020, said Ali Mokdad, a professor of health metrics at the University of Washington in Seattle. According to the latest estimate by his modeling group, only seven out of 100 infections are recorded in official lists. That means a place like New York City, averaging 1,600 cases per day, has a dramatically higher actual number of infections.

Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker visit Neil Simon's

Several Broadway performances of the comedy Plaza Suite were canceled after Matthew Broderick tested positive, followed by his wife and co-star Sarah Jessica Parker. Daniel Craig has also been banned from his Macbeth revival.

In Michigan, the state’s Department of Health and Human Services recently started updating its COVID-19 dashboard only once a week on Wednesdays instead of three times a week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, slowing understanding of its tracked cases.

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