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Why Hospitalizations Are Now a Better Indicator of COVID’s Impact

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In this Nov. 19, 2020 file photo, medical staff care for a COVID-19 patient at a Los Angeles area hospital. (AP File Photo/Jae Hong)
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America is in the slow process of accepting that COVID-19 will become endemic — meaning it will always be present in the population at varying levels. But the United States has effective tools to deal with that reality when it happens in the future, according to public health researchers Dr. Monica Gandhi and Dr. Leslie Bienen.

Learning to live with the virus in the long term will require changes in both mind-set and policy, they say. Relying on COVID-19 hospitalizations as the most important metric to track closely will provide the most reliable picture of how an area is faring with the virus. And by focusing attention on the number of hospitalizations, health professionals can better focus on reducing them, the researchers write in The New York Times.

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