OCEAN COUNTY, NJ - The reports come out daily when it comes to confirmed coronavirus cases. For the most part, they follow the same format as far as those who have newly tested positive. Additionally, updates are provided as far as the number of reported deaths. In Ocean County, residents are lucky enough to at least have information regarding confirmed cases in each municipality. So, what about the recovery numbers?
Johns Hopkins keeps a running tally of COVID-19 cases globally. As of this writing, the United States leads the world with the number of confirmed cases. Of the 312,481 who tested positive, over 9,000 Americans have lost their lives. If you use the figures cited by John Hopkins, they list only 15,021 as totally recovered. Another website puts that same statistic at 16,579 individuals.
No doubt, the recovery numbers don’t sound all that encouraging at first glance. It begs the question as far as the many who tested positive and are not listed as recovered. Is it possible that hundreds of thousands of people are still too sick to be counted?
From the beginning, experts have shared that the coronavirus hits people at varying degrees. In fact, it’s entirely possible to be asymptomatic and unwittingly spread the disease. In New Jersey, only individuals with symptoms are tested. Therefore, there may be more people who would actually come back positive and not feel sick at all.
From all appearances, the lack of statistics has everything to do with the meaning of recovery. In the United States, no one has clearly come up with a definition on a national or state basis. Like other places throughout New Jersey, Ocean County only started reporting confirmed cases last month.
That said, the CDC provides guidelines for people who tested positive for COVID-19 and self-insolated. Based on the availability of testing supplies and laboratory capacity, the CDC considers two negative swabs to be part of a recovery definition. Additionally, the patient’s fever must be back to normal without the use of fever-reducing medications. Lastly, coughing and shortness of breath must show improvement.
Without the subsequent testing, patients must continue to isolate for at least 72 hours after the resolution of their fever without medication. There must still be the same improvement in respiratory symptoms. And, at least seven days must pass since the symptoms first appeared.
The recovery numbers? As you can see, they’re most likely underreported. However, the same is true when it comes to the many individuals who may have tested positive in the first place.