NYC Covid Searches Show Surge May Have Peaked, Nate Silver Says
(Bloomberg) -- Google searches for Covid-19 symptoms are falling in the New York City area, a sign that the wave of infections in the region may be cresting, according to data watcher Nate Silver.
Queries for “Covid symptoms,” “cough,” “fever” and “sore throat” have declined in the area since Dec. 27, Silver said in a tweet Monday, noting that confirmed cases will likely take longer to peak because of testing backlogs and reporting lags.
Silver, the editor of data analysis and news site FiveThirtyEight.com, isn’t an epidemiologist or virus expert. But a lack of reliable real-time Covid figures — and the likelihood that infections are being significantly undercounted among those that are reported — are leaving people who interpret data for a living to look for information in places other than public-health sources.
Data from New York City’s health department show that the trend of infections is increasing, with a daily average of 26,817 confirmed new cases over the last week, with 33.5 percent of people who are tested receiving a positive result. While the figures were updated Monday, the information is reported on a three-day lag. The city’s data collection has also been affected by disruptions from the recent holidays.
Early research indicates symptoms from the omicron variant may be different than other strains of Covid, with patients studied in South Africa primarily showing a scratchy or sore throat along with nasal congestion, a dry cough and muscle pain. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Dec. 28 that the omicron strain made up an estimated 58.6% of sequenced U.S. virus cases in the week ending Dec. 25.
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