COVID by the Metrics

North Carolina’s published COVID-19 metrics continue to rise, painting a picture of a wave of infection growing gradually and having not yet crested. Visits to the emergency room for COVID-19-like symptoms, total daily diagnosed cases, and hospital admissions related to the disease are all increasing, though health system capacity remains far from strained. Arguably the most valuable metric (because it describes how widespread the virus is in a given population without interference from human behaviors such as accessing medical care or seeking testing) the number of viral particles detected in wastewater samples continues to increase. This week, on average, 19.0 million COVID-19 virus copies were found per person in participating North Carolina wastewater treatment plans. For reference, this is similar to the numbers reported during the Delta-driven wave last summer, but far fewer than the 106 million copies detected at the height of this winter’s massive Omicron surge.