Today we’ve added an additional layer to our health weather map that shows the overall trend of influenza-like illness for individual communities across the country. We hope this will be a helpful tool for early detection of community spread – the degree to which respiratory viruses like seasonal cold and flu as well as COVID-19 — are circulating.
It’s important to note that this map does not suggest anything about what the impact that COVID-19 will have on local healthcare systems in the coming days and weeks. Because of the delay between infection and symptoms progressing to the point requiring hospitalization, the widespread declines in illness trends we’re seeing today are promising. They indicate that we are making some progress toward our goals to #FlattenTheCurve and reduce the increase in new infections.
The critical question for today is: how many people were infected in the first half of March before widespread social distancing measures were put into place? We can’t answer that with our data, but the information coming from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (and data reported by emergency rooms across the country) show that the trend of confirmed cases of COVID-19 is growing exponentially.