The Atlantic

Pandemic Data Are Stalling Out

Thanksgiving has skewed reporting of COVID-19 cases and deaths, but one metric is still clear: Hospitalizations keep rising.
Source: Go Nakamura / Getty / The Atlantic

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As expected, our picture of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States in the past week is muddied by incomplete and delayed data, the result of the Thanksgiving holiday and long weekend. Although cases, tests, and deaths appear to have declined, we believe this is largely an artifact of data reporting and not reflective of the true toll the coronavirus is taking on the nation right now. The one metric not substantially affected by holiday reporting makes clear exactly how severe the pandemic is: More than 100,000 people in the United States—that’s one in 3,300 people—are now hospitalized with COVID-19.

4 bar charts showing key COVID metrics for the US over time by week. This week saw a decrease in tests, cases, and deaths alongside an increase in average weekly hospitalized. Declines were likely due to Thanksgiving reporting issues.

Every U.S. region has seen a rapid increase in the number of hospitalizations in recent weeks; nationwide, the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 has more than doubled in the past month. The West hit an all-time

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