ATLANTA — Twice a day, the Georgia Department of Public Health is providing updates on the spread of the novel coronavirus in Georgia.
The information includes the latest numbers on deaths, hospitalizations and total confirmed cases. One thing the data does not include is recoveries.
11Alive is focusing our news coverage on the facts, and not the fear, around the virus. We want to keep you informed about the latest developments while ensuring that we deliver confirmed, factual information.
Part of that would, of course, include recovery information.
But after consulting with experts from DPH, Emory, and the CDC, it is clear there are limitations that make it next to impossible to report raw totals on the number of Georgia patients who have recovered from COVID-19.
- In Georgia, we don’t have a good system already in place to track recoveries.
- When you get the flu, and get better, you don’t pick up the phone and say, “Doc! I’m recovered!” The only way we know recovered cases right now is if the patient was released from the hospital.
- Lots of people will get the virus without being hospitalized. Their recovery will likely not be officially documented.
- Medical privacy laws - like HIPPA - can prevent individual hospitals or medical groups from releasing that information to the public right now.
- We would need the state to require this kind of reporting, and medical facilities to start collecting it.
Organizations that report this information, such as Johns Hopkins University, are using a very advanced model to estimate recoveries. Right now, the state of Georgia is not using this model, or others, to estimate.
But that doesn't mean 11Alive is going to ignore it. We're working with the experts to try to find smart ways to be able to talk about recovery in real numbers.
That includes encouraging our reporters and anchors to safely interview those people who've tested positive and recovered via FaceTime or Skype. It even includes our own reporter's personal experience with COVID-19.
We want to get those stories out there.
We've heard from a lot of viewers seeking this information, and we hear you: We're going to keep working hard on this issue.
If you have a story of recovery you'd like to share, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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