A quick look at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID-19 tracker reveals that new cases have been rising slowly for more than a month, with hospitalization rates rising even more steadily. Some cities, such as Chicago, are raising their official warning levels to “high.” Los Angeles is looking at reinstituting a mask mandate for indoor spaces. What’s missing is the widespread sense of crisis, or even panic, that has gripped previous surges in SARS-CoV-2 infection. As reported by The New York Times, though, the relative calm may not necessarily be the byproduct of a more informed populace as much as it is a combination of less solid data, a conscious choice among public health officials to project a sense of calm, and pandemic fatigue among the public. As the Times article points out, guidances are being issued as “quiet warnings” rather than urgent edicts due to the fact that fewer people are dying than at the height of the pandemic thanks in part to effective vaccines and emerging treatments for the virus. It’s important for urgent care operators and providers to bear in mind, however, that a false sense of security could wind up creating havoc in the clinic. Staff members who get sick will still be missing work while they quarantine, and reducing safety measures among patients could put everyone at risk.
COVID Cases Are Resurging—but This Time No One Is Panicking