Forecast still cloudy on COVID

April 20, 2022

COVID-19 reports, with the exception of maybe weather and the stock market, are the most viewed (and most impactful) numbers in our daily lives in spring of 2022.

They are also changing more and, as a result, are harder to predict, than any changes in weather or business.

Over the past month alone, we have seen both the highs and the lows. After sharp increases in the first half of March, the CDC reported that COVID-19 cases have been on a steady decrease for the latter half of said month. Indeed, rates of infection and mortality have been on steady declines throughout the country.

However, international headlines, particularly in the UK and China, can hardly be encouraging.

In fact, COVID in China is raging as the country is in the midst of their worst outbreak since the pandemic began (and far surpassing the height of the initial spread in Wuhan in 2020).

China shut down Shanghai and other surrounding areas with an ongoing lockdown of around 26 million people, again bringing factory shutdowns and future potential shortages of supplies back to the forefront of concern.

According to NPR, China sent more than 10,000 health workers from around the country to help the city with mass testing of the Shanghai residents.

In Britain, COVID is surging as well, and a new Omicron variant, XE, has been identified and detected.

And, while overall national rates here in the U.S. have been falling, on a state-level things are much different, as close to half of the states are seeing their COVID numbers on the rise.

Thus, we laboratorians cannot rest on our laurels or put away our COVID test procedures yet.

COVID-19 will continue to be a fact of our lives for the foreseeable future, and we, the laboratorians, the epidemiologists, the scientists, must continue to consider ourselves as not just valued public servants, but also as community leaders.

In these troubling times, we in the laboratories are shaping and influencing the lives of everyone.

We are responsible for detecting and responding to a public emergency, and every action we take has reverberations throughout our community and throughout the world. And it looks like for now, our labs and our laboratorians are still going need to be ready to tackle the next variant or the next twist on COVID care.

I welcome your comments, questions and opinions – please send them to me at [email protected].