CDC Plans to End Community-Level COVID Reporting

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May 1, 2023 – The CDC will stop tracking and reporting COVID cases at the community level later this month. 

That means COVIDtracking will become similar to how the agency tracks the flu and other respiratory illnesses. There will be an increased lag time in knowing how widespread  COVID is in the U.S., because the agency will primarily rely on hospitalization data, which usually arises well after someone is infected.

The CDC’s plans, which were reported by CNN and NBC News, will be implemented at the end of the COVIDfederal public health emergency on May 11.

"With the end of the public health emergency, CDC will no longer get the same data. We are working to update the measure used to convey the risk of COVID-19 in communities based on data that will be available," a CDC spokesperson wrote in an email, according to NBC News. "Our priority remains providing the information necessary to protect the nation's public health."

Community-level reporting allowed people to enter a location in a web-based CDC search tool and then receive a color-coded indication of how common the virus was in the area. The codes also included safety recommendations based on the case rate and other factors.

The agency also said it plans to conclude its publication of COVID Data Tracker Weekly Review on May 12. It its most recent publication of the weekly review, the agency said that 17 U.S. communities had a high level of impact from COVID, and 79 communities had a medium level. Those communities accounted for less than 4% of all places in the U.S.