April 6, 2020

COVID-19: CDC launches weekly surveillance report

On April 3, CDC announced that it is modifying existing surveillance systems to track COVID-19 and posted the first weekly surveillance report called “COVIDView”. The report will be updated every Friday. 

COVIDView provides a weekly summary and interpretation of key indicators being adapted to track the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. This includes information related to COVID-19 outpatient visits, emergency department visits, hospitalizations and deaths, as well as laboratory data.

Parts of the first COVIDView are included below.

Outpatient/Emergency Department Illness

Visits to outpatient providers and emergency departments for illnesses with symptom presentation similar to COVID-19 are elevated compared to what is normally seen at this time of year.  At this time, there is little influenza virus circulation.


The COVID-19-Associated Hospitalization Surveillance Network (COVID-NET) conducts population-based surveillance for laboratory-confirmed COVID-19-associated hospitalizations in select counties participating in the Emerging Infections Program (EIP) and Influenza Hospitalization Surveillance Project (IHSP) states. COVID-NET-estimated hospitalization rates will be updated weekly.

A total of 1,482 laboratory-confirmed COVID-19-associated hospitalizations were reported by COVID-NET sites between March 1, 2020 and March 28, 2020. The overall cumulative hospitalization rate was 4.6 per 100,000 population with the highest rates in those aged 65 years and older (13.8 per 100,000) followed by adults aged 50-64 years (7.4 per 100,000).

Mortality Surveillance

Based on National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) mortality surveillance data available on April 2, 2020, 8.2% of the deaths occurring during the week ending March 21, 2020 (week 12) were due to pneumonia and influenza (P&I). This percentage is above the epidemic threshold of 7.2% for week 12.  The increase in P&I percentage is being driven primarily by an increase in pneumonia deaths (excluding deaths where influenza is also listed as a cause of death). The percentage of deaths due to pneumonia has increased sharply since the end of February, while those due to influenza increased at a more modest rate through early March and declined slightly during the week ending March 21.  This could reflect an increase in deaths from pneumonia caused by non-influenza associated infections including COVID-19. Deaths attributed specifically to COVID-19 will be reported in the next report.

NCHS is monitoring deaths associated with COVID-19. Those data will be summarized in this report starting next week, but a preliminary analysis indicates that approximately half of the deaths with COVID-19 listed as a cause of death also include pneumonia as a cause of death.  For this reason, in addition to the substantial decrease in influenza activity and the fact that the P&I epidemic threshold is driven by the percentage of pneumonia deaths occurring in the same time period during the past 5 years, comparisons of the P&I percentage to the epidemic threshold provides an indicator of pneumonia deaths in excess of what would otherwise be expected.

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